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Wizards come up short in Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes

The Wizards missed on Mitchell — but did they ever really swing?

2022 NBA Playoffs - Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz
After years of playoff disappointment, the Utah Jazz finally traded their All Star duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert this summer.
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

So the band is staying together. Is that a good thing?

After an offseason of nonstop rumors, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was finally traded yesterday. Though his expected destination was the New York Knicks, Mitchell wound up joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps.

According to Wizards insider Quinton Mayo, Washington made an offer to Utah’s general manager Danny Ainge, the details of which are currently unknown.

With Bradley Beal’s massive new contract and the acquisition of Monte Morris and Will Barton this summer, it is clear the Wizards are aiming to compete now, and taking a big swing on Mitchell would have been a massive step toward competing. Though the defensive backcourt of Beal and Mitchell would certainly leave much to be desired, the combined offensive threat of the two guards would more than make up for their defensive deficiencies.

As it stands, the Wizards roster consists of Beal, an injury-prone Kristaps Porzingis, Corey Kispert, rookie Johnny Davis and a collection of role players. The addition of a star-level talent in Mitchell in exchange for a collection of assets and role players would have greatly aided in Washington’s quest for relevance.

It’s not like the Cavaliers’ offer priced the Wizards out of the Mitchell sweepstakes. Washington could have matched Cleveland’s draft pick haul while offering a better selection of players. Remember — Sexton, the most valuable player the Jazz acquired, was struggling all offseason to get a reasonable contract offer from any team.

The Wizards could have sent the Jazz Kispert, who has high upside as a 3-and-D player; Davis, a rookie selected higher than the rookie the Jazz received in the trade; an assortment of their deep roster of role players and the same number of first-round picks.

The fact that the Cavaliers got the trade done and the Wizards couldn’t says a lot about the risk-averse lack of aggression on the Wizards’ part.