Why huge Donovan Mitchell trade is double-edged sword for Spurs

Donovan Mitchell, Keldon Johnson
Donovan Mitchell, Keldon Johnson / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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In a shocking turn of events first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cleveland Cavaliers ultimately emerged as Donovan Mitchell’s suitor, sending a package of several young players and draft picks to the Utah Jazz to land the All-Star shooting guard.  

While it may be true that the trade will have no immediate impact on the San Antonio Spurs, do not be mistaken: the blockbuster trade will have a ripple effect across the league that affects many teams’ plans moving forward, and it could even affect the Spurs’ plan to net a superstar in the upcoming draft. With that in mind, though, the formation of a contending team in Cleveland could also sneakily benefit the Spurs over the next several seasons. 

The Spurs face new competition in the lottery 

Some of you may be wondering why the Donovan Mitchell trade could end up hurting San Antonio being that the Spurs have had nothing to do with trade discussions. Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that the Utah Jazz have now very much entered themselves into the race for Victor Wembanyama, who many see as the top prize in the 2023 NBA Draft.  

Even after adding a few decent to good-quality options in Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, and Ochai Agbaji, the Jazz now very clearly lack star power and are entering a rebuild. Since they now additionally own several of the Cavaliers’ unprotected 1st round picks and pick swaps in the coming years, it’s clear that the Jazz will prioritize finding high-end talent in the coming drafts over just about all else.

If one of the longer-tenured Spurs players like Devin Vassell or Keldon Johnson were to make another leap this season, that could be all the team needs to outplay the Jazz this season.