Could Donovan Mitchell be a target for the Hawks?

Donovan Mitchell Hawks

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ offseason is underway after falling to the Boston Celtics in five games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and like the Hawks, they have some critical decisions to make regarding the face of their franchise Donovan Mitchell.

All signs point to the Cavs attempting to offer Mitchell the highest contract in franchise history, but if he rejects the offer, most believe he will be traded. As expected, the top teams in major markets have been linked to the star shooting guard, like the Lakers and Heat, but there are some rumblings that the Hawks could potentially get in the mix.

“There have also been whispers about Mitchell and the Atlanta Hawks dating back before the 2023-24 season,” writes Brett Siegel, NBA insider for Clutch Points. “Mitchell has a strong relationship with All-Star point guard Trae Young, and the Hawks want to position themselves to once again be at the top of the Eastern Conference standings rather quickly.

While it is true that Atlanta is looking to cut costs and duck the tax lines heading into the summer, owner Tony Ressler is willing to make a big move and invest long-term money into a player who puts the team in a championship position, sources said. Now having the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft to play around with, as well as talents such as Dejounte Murray, Clint Capela, De’Andre Hunter, and AJ Griffin, the Hawks could get creative in terms of offering a massive package for Mitchell this summer.”

The Hawks don’t own their own picks past this year, which would have made going for a superstar like Donovan Mitchell impossible. However, winning the NBA lottery changes a lot. The #1 pick would be a quality starting point in potential trade talks, and the Hawks have numerous other ways to acquire the capital necessary to put together an enticing deal for the Cavs, one that could be much more attractive than anything the Lakers could possibly offer.

The connections between Donovan Mitchell and the Hawks don’t stop at the friendship he shares with Hawks star point guard Trae Young, either. His former head coach, Quin Snyder, is now the head coach in Atlanta, which only adds more intrigue to this situation if the Cavs decide to shop Mitchell.

Like any blockbuster trade of this magnitude, it would come with significant risk for the Hawks. Mitchell is set to become a free agent at season’s end, and Trae Young can opt out of his contract in two years. The move for Mitchell would strip the Hawks of whatever future assets they have left, meaning they would have to be extremely confident in building a roster capable of competing around the two star guards, something they’ve failed to do over the last two seasons with Young and Dejounte Murray.

If the Hawks trade for Donovan Mitchell and it backfires, they’d be staring at a future without Mitchell or Young and no picks or young players to build around. It would be a helluva gamble, but it might just be the risk this franchise needs to get them over the hump.

Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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