‘I Was Hyped’: Donovan Mitchell Recounts Reaction To Jazz-Cavaliers Trade

Dec 8, 2023, 12:50 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell recently spoke about some experiences he had during his time with the Utah Jazz and the trade that sent him to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Donovan Mitchell Recounts Time With Jazz & Trade To Cavaliers

The former Jazzman talked about his time in Utah during an episode of the “Run Your Race” podcast with Theo Pinson and AJ Richardson.

During their conversation, Mitchell discussed some memorable events from his Jazz career, including the NBA Draft, his rookie season, the COVID-19 pandemic, the bubble in Orlando, and getting traded to the Cavaliers.

Mitchell also talked about his childhood and college career, playing baseball, and more.

After playing college basketball at Louisville, Mitchell was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. On draft night, Mitchell was traded to the Jazz, whom he had an excellent pre-draft workout with.

“By the time I got down, they said, ‘You were traded to Utah.'” Mitchell said. “I was geeked. Cause I’m like, “Shoot, this is my workout…I remember that one.'”

WARNING: Explicit language is featured in the videos below

After arriving in the Beehive State, Mitchell became a star for the Jazz during his rookie campaign.

In the first regular season game of his professional career, Mitchell was inserted into the starting lineup moments before tip-off. A few weeks later, the rookie became a full-time starter for Quin Snyder.

Midway through Mitchell’s first season, he won the NBA’s Slam Dunk contest during All-Star Weekend.

At the end of the year, the Louisville product finished second for the league’s Rookie of the Year award.

The NBA guard told Pinson and Richardson that even though he remembers what happened, his first year in the league was “a blur” and “didn’t feel real.”

Later in the podcast, Mitchell recalled when the NBA shut down before Utah’s game against Oklahoma City after Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Mitchell talked about his experience traveling back home after also testing positive and how he spent the next month.

The former Jazzman was asked about his time in the NBA’s bubble in Orlando, Florida. During the NBA’s restart amid the pandemic, Mitchell had a superstar performance during Utah’s first-round playoff series against the Nuggets. The guard exploded for more than 50 points during two games in the series.

“I lost us that series,” Mitchell said. The guard took the blame for an eight-second violation that happened during Utah’s Game 1 loss.

Following the 2021-22 season, which ended in a first round loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Mitchell’s future with the Jazz was up in the air after the team traded away fellow NBA All-Star Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Mitchell called the summer of 2022 a “wild” time.

“Everybody knows like, you know, ‘Is he going here? Is he going to New York? Is he going?’ The whole bit and I have no clue what the hell’s going on. You know what I mean? I wasn’t in communication with anybody from Utah just because it was at a point where it was like just find a way to make it happen,” Mitchell said.

Donovan Mitchell reacts to Jazz-Cavs trade

In September 2022, the Jazz traded Mitchell to the Cavaliers.

Shortly after the deal was reported, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst told a story about Mitchell’s reaction to the trade that happened while the guard was golfing.

“It’s a great fit for Donovan Mitchell,” Windhorst said via CavaliersNation.com. “And I’m gonna tell you, I can’t tell you how I know, but I’m aware of when he found out. And I’m aware of when he actually found out about what was in the trade. And when he found out — he was on a golf course — and when he found out that Mobley, Jarrett Allen, and Darius Garland were not in the trade, and neither was Kevin Love, he went screaming around the golf course, he was so excited. He’s extremely excited in this moment. I’m sure he would love to have been a [New York] Knick, that’s his hometown. But he’s extremely excited in the moment.”

Mitchell confirmed Windhorst’s report of his reaction.

“That story of me running around the golf course, all that was true,” Mitchell said. “I was hyped.”

Since leaving the Jazz, Mitchell has continued to play at a superstar level with the Cavaliers. During his first season in Cleveland, Mitchell led the Cavs to a 51-31 record in the regular season. The Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs via a first round loss to the New York Knicks.

This season, Cleveland is off to a 12-9 start. Mitchell currently ranks ninth in the NBA in scoring with an average of 27.6 points per game.

About Donovan Mitchell

During Mitchell’s first six seasons in the league, he’s been named an NBA All-Star four times and earned All-NBA Second Team honors for the 2022-23 season.

Mitchell was an NBA All-Star three times as a member of the Jazz.


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During his five seasons in Utah, Mitchell averaged 23.9 points per contest on 44.1 percent shooting, including 36.1 percent on three-pointers. He also recorded 4.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 33.7 minutes per game. Mitchell played in 345 games for the Jazz, including 337 starts.

Last season, the Jazz missed the playoffs and posted a 37-45 record.

Utah owns a 7-14 record to start the 2023-24 campaign.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Threads (@kyleirelandksl), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl). and X (@kyleireland).

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‘I Was Hyped’: Donovan Mitchell Recounts Reaction To Jazz-Cavaliers Trade