The Cleveland Cavaliers’ acquisition of Donovan Mitchell has turned heads around the league, as Mitchell possesses the ability to take the Cavs to the next level. After a promising season that ended unceremoniously with play-in defeats to the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks, Mitchell’s addition to the core led by young stars Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen just might be what the Cavs need to book their first playoff spot since the departure of LeBron James.
However, despite the euphoria caused by Mitchell’s addition, the trade has unintended ramifications that would undoubtedly affect the Cavs’ future.
The Cavs have both Donovan Mitchell and Garland locked as five-year designated rookie scale max extension players (Mitchell obviously signed his extension with the Jazz during the 2020 offseason), and under the Collective Bargaining agreement, an NBA team can only roster two player under such an agreement.
Thus, when the time comes for an Evan Mobley extension in 2024, the Cavs will be unable to offer the 21 year-old big man out of USC a max deal, according to a report from RealGM.
Evan Mobley, should he choose to pursue a max extension (and there’s no reason he shouldn’t given his current career trajectory), would need to wait until 2025 when he hits restricted free agency for the Cavs to be able to offer him a five-year max. The Cavs have other options, such as inking Mobley in 2024 to a four-year max extension, but this would mean that Mobley will hit unrestricted free agency a year earlier, an unwanted outcome for the Cavs front office.
Nonetheless, there’s no reason to believe that the Donovan Mitchell trade will prevent the Cavs from locking up Evan Mobley for the foreseeable future. Mobley is a unique big man who averaged 15 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 69 games as a rookie. For the Cavs to reach their full potential, a lot will ride on Mobley’s more-than-capable shoulders, as further improvement could mean All-NBA levels of production from Mobley.