NBA executive says Donovan Mitchell trade buzz "very real"

Few teams have the pressure on them this postseason that the Cleveland Cavaliers face, all because of Donovan Mitchell. He has one year left on his contract at $35.4 million, and then he can become a free agent (there is a player option for the 2025-26 season, but he can get more money and years with a new deal). This summer, the Cavaliers will put a max contract extension on the table in front of him for four years and an estimated $199 million (depending on the exact salary cap number).

Will Mitchell sign the extension? How the Cavaliers do in these playoffs — they tip off their first-round series against Orlando on Saturday — will weigh into that decision. If Mitchell chooses not to sign, the Cavaliers will almost be forced to trade him or risk him walking out the door for nothing. Those trade rumors around Mitchell are real, an anonymous team executive told Josh Robbins and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

"That (Mitchell situation) is very real. Teams will definitely clear out a bunch of (assets) for him. We'll see. But if they face Boston in the second round, they'll probably lose. And yeah, that doesn't bode well (for his future in Cleveland)."

This summer, we will find out what Mitchell's top priorities are. Most players in recent years have taken the biggest bag possible — which only Cleveland can offer — then, if they want a change, they force their way out a couple of years with the larger contract in hand. Or, if the Cavaliers are bounced in the first round or two, is Mitchell so ready to move on that he doesn't sign and essentially forces a trade? As noted, those rumors are real and Mitchell's hometown Knicks would be at the front of the line.

It's going to be an interesting postseason and summer in Cleveland.