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Mitchell arrival thrills Cavaliers

WASHINGTON (AFP) — National Basketball Association All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell received an excited welcome to the Cleveland Cavaliers as his trade from Utah became official while the Jazz thanked him for incredible performances.

Mitchell was sent to the Cavaliers in exchange for Utah getting Finland’s Lauri Markkanen, guards Collin Sexton and Ochai Agbaji, first-round NBA Draft picks in 2025, 2027 and 2029 and pick swaps in 2026 and 2028.

Multiple reports Thursday disclosed the blockbuster deal, which gives the Cavs a load of young talent and the Jazz a horde of draft picks to rebuild the club.
“The acquisition of Donovan Mitchell presented us with an incredible opportunity to bring one of the NBA’s most dynamic young All-Stars to Cleveland,” Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman said.

Mitchell averaged 25.9 points and 4.2 rebounds last season as well as career highs of 5.3 assists and 1.5 steals. His average of 3.6 3-pointers a game ranked fourth in the league.

“Already a special and proven talent at just 25, Donovan brings a competitive mentality that organically fits with the core group of this team,” Altman said.

“We’re excited to see the impact that someone of Donovan’s caliber can bring to the Cavaliers with his ability to score the basketball, but also make plays for his teammates.”

Mitchell joins a Cavaliers lineup with Darius Garland and 2022 All-Star center Jarrett Allen and 2022 All-Rookie forward Evan Mobley.

Cleveland has not reached the playoffs since LeBron James departed for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 after leading the Cavs to four consecutive NBA Finals, including a title in 2016.

The Jazz had winning seasons and went to the playoffs in each of Mitchell’s five years in Utah, but never reached the Western Conference finals and only twice reached the second round of the playoffs.

But the team tweeted its appreciation to Mitchell once the trade became official.

“We got to watch you light up the league as a rookie and cheer you on as you became a perennial All-Star,” the Jazz tweeted.

“We witnessed you embrace and serve our community while standing for what’s right and uniting Jazz fans everywhere.”

“Thank you for all the good you did here,” the Jazz said.

“There will always be Donovan Mitchell fans in Utah. Once a Jazzman, always a Jazzman.”

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