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3 moves the Cleveland Cavaliers must make this summer after loss to the Boston Celtics

The Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated from the NBA Playoffs by the Boston Celtics.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Donovan Mitchell
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t really stand a chance against the Boston Celtics in this year’s NBA Playoffs. Cleveland earned a first-round win over the Orlando Magic. But it faced a juggernaut in the conference semifinals. The Cavs fell in Game 5 to Boston Wednesday night by the score of 113-98 to end their season.

Cleveland was hampered by an injury to Donovan Mitchell that cost him the final two games of the Celtics series.

In reality, the Cavs can’t be seen as a legitimate title contender in their current form. The backdrop here is Mitchell’s future with Cleveland. He can opt out of his contract after next season and hit free agency. Rumors point in the direction of front office head Koby Altman and Co. trading Mitchell.

The broader question here is whether Altman believes risking losing Mitchell for nothing after next season is worth the gamble. This will be the biggest offseason storyline in Ohio.

Related: Cleveland Cavaliers news and rumors

Three moves the Cleveland Cavaliers must make this summer

With all of that said, there are two different directions the Cavaliers can go. They could look to tread water by adding to the margins for Mitchell. They could also blow it up and build for the future. We’re leaning in the latter direction. Here are some moves we believe Cleveland should make.

Trade Donovan Mitchell for young pieces, draft picks

NBA Playoffs, Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers
Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

It seems highly unlikely that Mitchell is going to re-sign with Cleveland on a long-term deal. Rumors continue to suggest that he’s looking to play in a bigger market such as New York City or Los Angeles.

We firmly believe trading Mitchell this summer makes the most sense for the Cavaliers. But instead of adding capital in a weak 2024 NBA Draft, Cleveland should look forward to the 2025 iteration, which is considered much stronger. It should also be looking for young players in any Mitchell-centric trade.

  • Cleveland Cavaliers get: Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Mooday, Andrew Wiggins, 2 future 1st-round picks
  • Golden State Warriors get: Donovan Mitchell

This move gives Cleveland a young wing in Kuminga to build around. Still only 21 years old, Kuminga averaged 16.1 points on 53% shooting last season. Moody is also a former lottery pick. As for the picks, one would come unprotected with the other being lightly protected.

Related: A look at the top NBA free agents this summer

Cleveland Cavaliers trade Jarrett Allen

Dec 20, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) and Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) look to rebound in the first quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland will likely have to choose between Allen and Evan Mobley moving forward. Right now, it seems that Allen provides more value. He averaged 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds this past season. Contending teams will show interest.

It also must be noted that Mobley is just 22 years old. Just like Darius Garland, he could be a central part to Cleveland’s rebuild.

  • Cleveland Cavaliers get: Jalen Green
  • Houston Rockets get: Jarrett Allen, 2 2nd-round picks

In this scenario, Cleveland gives up some future draft capital by bringing back a potential cornerstone in that of the 22-year-old Jalen Green. He’s a scorer. He’s someone that can act as a franchise cornerstone with Mobley, Garland and Kuminga.

Related: Cleveland Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell and the best NBA players today

Trade out of the 2024 NBA Draft

As noted above, this year’s iteration of the draft is seen as incredibly weak. Why not move off the 20th pick in the annual event for future assets?

After all, the Cavaliers exhausted multiple first-round picks and pick swaps to acquire Mitchell from the Utah Jazz ahead of the 2022-23 season. They need to continue recouping those selections.

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