The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz in the biggest trade of the 2022 NBA offseason on Thursday. Mitchell had long seemed destined to play alongside Jalen Brunson on the Knicks, but the Cavs snagged the All-Star guard in a massive trade.

Utah receives Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, and Lauri Markkanen, as well as first-round picks in 2025, 2027, and 2029, as well as pick swaps in 2026 and 2028. Naturally, the Cavs’ NBA championship odds improved to +3000 at Barstool Sportsbook as a result.

Barstool Sportsbook odds as of September 1. Before betting on NBA Championship odds such as, check out this list of Barstool Sportsbook promotions.

Prior to the agreement, Cleveland was a +10000 longshot to win the NBA championship.

Cavaliers Become a Power in the East

A new contender has emerged in the Eastern Conference. Before the trade, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Miami, and Boston led the East, but Cleveland, along with Toronto, Chicago, and Atlanta, has risen from the chasing pack to join the elite. While it may be premature to consider the Cavaliers a favorite in NBA Eastern Conference odds, there is no denying they are a force to be reckoned with now that Mitchell has joined their core of Evan Mobley, Darius Garland, and Jarrett Allen.

The odds do not yet reflect how much this benefits Cleveland. Perhaps this is an acknowledgement that this team still has a ceiling in 2022-23, but this is clearly a huge step forward for a small-market franchise that took a huge step forward in 2021-22. They have a potential All-NBA forward in Mobley. Allen is already a contender for Defensive Player of the Year, and Garland earned his first All-Star selection last season.

Mitchell is a three-level scorer who averaged 26.4 points per game in 2020-21 and 25.9 points per game in 2021-22. He has four games with 40 or more points in the playoffs (including two 50-pieces). The offensive fit is ideal, especially for a team that finished 20th in points scored per 100 possessions last season.

Cleveland Cavaliers Defensive Issues Persist

On the other end of the floor is the question about this trade and where it leaves the Cavaliers in 2023 and beyond. Mitchell was drafted as a potential plus defender, but he has been a liability on defense in recent seasons. In the playoffs, Garland is small and vulnerable.

Championship contenders must have a good defense in addition to a player near the top of the NBA MVP odds. It’s reasonable to be skeptical of a defense led by Garland and Mitchell, especially after seeing how the Blazers were limited by the backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Optimists in Cleveland believe Mobley and Allen are the league’s best rim protectors. The upside of Mobley and Allen is enormous, and Mobley can guard on the perimeter to compensate for some of Garland and Mitchell’s flaws. Cleveland is counting on their big men to make up for a poor perimeter defense, and they desperately need a plus defender and a decent shooter on the wing.

In 2022-23, his trade clearly elevates Cleveland, putting them just a few breaks away from a deep playoff run. A trip to the Conference Finals is certainly possible if Mobley and Garland continue to improve. Ultimately, acquiring Mitchell is about the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons, when the Cavs could become serious title contenders.

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