The 2023-24 NBA season is nearly upon us and with it comes a media day full of questions for Donovan Mitchell. The most pressing of which is the lingering concern around Mitchell’s future with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Mitchell will not sign an extension this year
Mitchell confirmed he would not sign an extension with the Cavaliers this year but urged a reminder that he will still be able to do so next offseason.
“I want it to be known that I still have the opportunity to sign an extension next summer. I don’t think a lot of people understand that aspect,” he said.
These comments have seemingly been the main takeaway from Monday. And while Mitchell himself acknowledged that these questions will continue to be asked throughout the year — he also signaled a total commitment to the upcoming season.
“I’m really excited about what we’ve got going here. We could do something special. Ultimately, when the season is over, we’ll get to that,” he said.
Mitchell is under contract until 2025 when he will have the opportunity to opt in for another season or become a free agent.
Mitchell thinks the Cavs seized the summer
The other thing on everyone’s mind was last season’s disappointment in the playoffs. Mitchell says it was a rough couple of months getting over the loss to New York but he used that pain as fuel for his offseason training.
“It hurt,” Mitchell said. “You take the lessons you need to learn and move forward. You put that anger and frustration into your workouts. I know I’m not the only one (on the team) who felt that way”
Throughout media day, various Cavaliers confirmed the team has been working together all summer. Mitchell praised his teammates for their work ethic in the offseason.
“It’s the first time in my career where I’ve worked out with everybody before the season even started,” Mitchell said. “We addressed different things we feel we needed to fix... but now we have to go out there and put it together as a group, which I have no doubt we will.”
The disappointment of last season is shared by everyone on the roster. And while Mitchell himself felt the sting of disappointment, all of his attention is on responding next season and making sure that feeling doesn’t return.
“The only way you really learn is through experience. Sucks to say but the best way to learn is through heartbreak,” Mitchell said. “We had one last year so it’s like, how do we respond this year? I know we will respond the right way.”
Mitchell believes in this organization
Cavs president of basketball operations Koby Altman said that he and Mitchell have had numerous “positive” conversations about the team’s construction. Mitchell also revealed he played a role in recruiting both Max Strus and Georges Niang this summer, expressing how special he believes the culture in Cleveland has become.
“It wasn’t hard for me to get Georges or Max to come here, they already wanted to come... That says a lot about what we have here.”
The long-term commitment that Cavs fans had hoped for did not come on media day. But Mitchell left everyone with a healthy dose of perspective, sharing his mentality for the season.
“My primary focus is this: just try to go out there and be the best team we can be, bring a championship to this city and then go from there,” he said.
Questions of Mitchell’s future in Cleveland might remain up in the air — yet his belief in his teammates appears to be strong. How the Cavaliers perform this year, particularly in the playoffs, will likely determine much of what is to come for Donovan Mitchell.