New Cleveland Cavaliers recruit Donovan Mitchell recently sat down with ESPN’s Brian Windhorst to discuss what was a monumental summer not only for himself but for his former team, the Utah Jazz. Windhorst himself made waves after he predicted that a complete team overhaul was coming for the Jazz, and apparently, Mitchell knew early on as well.
As it turns out, this was even before Utah pulled the trigger on the Rudy Gobert blockbuster trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves. When the Jazz traded Royce O’Neale to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for a draft pick, Mitchell already had a hunch that this may have been the beginning of the end (h/t ClutchPoints on Twitter):
“I was shocked,” Mitchell said. “… Especially to trade Royce and then to just get back a draft pick when after the season ended we had spoke. We talked about not trading Rudy. Instead let’s try and do this as a group and make changes if need be, but not myself or big fellow. Let’s run it back.”
Mitchell was very close with Royce O’Neale, so he admits that this was a tough one for him on a personal level. However, Mitchell also quickly realized that that trade was merely a precursor to what would transpire in the succeeding weeks/months:
“Obviously they went the direction they went,” he continued. “When Royce got traded, he called me. That was a tough one because I didn’t know what was happening. And that happened and you lose your best friend on the team, your best friend in life. But that was very interesting and from that, that pretty much just set up the rest of the summer.”
"I was shocked… When Royce [O'Neale] got traded, he called me. That was a tough one, because I didn't know what was happening."@spidadmitchell on his reaction to his best friend @BucketsONeale00 being traded away this summerpic.twitter.com/VZhAtji0hI
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 14, 2022
True enough, the Jazz sent Gobert packing barely a week after the Young trade. Donovan Mitchell’s move took longer than anticipated, but in the end, he found himself in Cleveland with an opportunity for a fresh start with a very promising young group.