Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers are currently in the midst of what figures to be a highly important offseason as for the future direction of the franchise following the team’s five game second round series loss to the Boston Celtics two weeks ago. Mitchell was brilliant in the time he was on the court vs the Celtics but unfortunately the Cavs star was forced to miss the final two games of the series after sustaining an injury, and Cleveland was predictably unable to do a whole lot in his absence.

One of the bigger storylines of the offseason not just for the Cavs but for the NBA as a whole regards what Cleveland, and more importantly what Mitchell, will choose to do about their relationship moving forward. Mitchell has one year left on his contract but has yet to indicate his interest in signing a long term deal with the franchise, leading some to speculate that the Cavs could be better off trading the star now rather than risk losing him for nothing next offseason.

Mitchell’s leverage over every decision the Cavs make at the current juncture is one of the biggest influences in the league, and is reportedly similar to the power that LeBron James exerts over his Los Angeles Lakers on the west coast.

“Donovan’s position with the Cavs right now is potentially as powerful as any team with any star player,” said ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst, via ESPN Cleveland on X, the social media platform formerly referred to as Twitter. “With possible trades coming, with the type of contract he’s going to get offered, with the coaching position open, like what Donovan has is what LeBron has with the Lakers. In fact, it might even be stronger because the Lakers have another superstar player on their roster, bona fide, and LeBron’s about to turn 40. Donovan’s entering his prime.”

What should the Cavs do?

The Cavs’ future is essentially hanging in the balance depending on what they do about the Donovan Mitchell situation. In their two years since they traded for Mitchell from the Utah Jazz, Cleveland has made the playoffs for the only two times without LeBron James in well over two decades; however, both stints featured relatively early exits, and it would appear that even with Mitchell in the fray, the Cavs are a long ways away from competing with teams like the Celtics or the healthy Milwaukee Bucks for Eastern Conference supremacy.

This of course begs the question as to whether or not the Cavs would be better off trading Mitchell now and extracting some value for his talents. If that’s the case, the star figures to have several suitors on this year’s market, including perhaps most notably the Miami Heat, who swung and missed on the Damian Lillard sweepstakes last summer but are still clearly in need of a primary scorer to pair with Jimmy Butler.

In any case, the Cavs will have some time to make their decision before the trade machines start really buzzing in late June.