The Cleveland Cavaliers traded for Donovan Mitchell despite how it impacts their ability to sign Evan Mobley to a full, five-year max out of his rookie contract due to existing collective bargaining agreement rules.
The way Cleveland was impacted by that rule reportedly led to speculation on the part of the New York Knicks, who were also pursuing a trade for Mitchell, that the Cavs wouldn’t present an all-in offer to the Utah Jazz because of it.
“Frankly, I think when the Knicks were negotiating against the Cavs, the Knicks knew that the Cavs were bidding against them,” said Brian Windhorst. “The Knicks, I think, thought they were bidding against themselves. And I think one of the reasons why the Knicks weren’t 100 percent certain the Cavs were going to go all-in is because they were saying, ‘Well, the Cavs can’t trade for Donovan Mitchell because it will handcuff them on Evan Mobley.'”
If the rule doesn’t change as part of the next CBA, the Cavaliers can either sign Mobley to a four-year extension, or wait for his restricted free agency to sign him to a five-year max contract.
The Cavaliers ultimately decided the upside of trading for Mitchell was worth all of their draft capital plus whatever consequences come from making the Mobley long-term deal more complicated.