On Thursday, it became official after weeks of speculation and rumors: The Utah Jazz were trading three-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Most figured Mitchell would end up with the New York Knicks or perhaps the Miami Heat, but he will instead be heading to the shore of Lake Erie to join Darius Garland and Evan Mobley.
The Jazz got a solid, yet somewhat underwhelming return in forward Lauri Markkanen, rookie wing Ochai Agbaji, guard Collin Sexton and three future unprotected first-round draft picks.
Full trade: Utah is trading Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland for Lauri Markkanen, Ochair Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 1, 2022
Of those three players, Sexton is the best, or at least the most skilled, yet there was instantly talk that the Jazz may flip Sexton for additional assets.
But according to Brian Windhorst, Collin will be staying in Salt Lake City.
New podcast on the Donovan Mitchell trade to Cavs (w/@TimBontemps & @espn_macmahon) https://t.co/DdRKpKIII8
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) September 1, 2022
“I checked in, because I wondered could they reroute Collin Sexton? Maybe to the Lakers, for example, you know,” Windhorst said at the 18:56 mark. “But I was told no, that Sexton’s gonna be in Utah, at least that’s the plan.”
Sexton Can Be A Major Part Of Utah’s Rebuild
The Jazz have positioned themselves very well for a full rebuild, much like the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Both teams now possess a treasure trove of future first-round draft picks, and with luck, one or more of them could turn out to be lottery picks and perhaps even yield a future star or superstar.
In terms of the players Utah got back for Mitchell and fellow All-Star Rudy Gobert, Sexton can help the most right away.
He is a very skilled scorer, and at 6-foot-1, he possesses ample quickness that he uses to get past defenders and get to his spots.
In his four NBA seasons, Sexton has topped out so far at 24.3 points per game during the 2020-21 season.
He is also a capable 3-point shooter who has a career accuracy of 37.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Sexton has also developed something of a secondary skill as a facilitator, as he went from 3.0 assists a game in his rookie year to 4.4 assists per contest in the 2020-21 campaign.
At age 23, Sexton still has plenty of room for improvement, and his prime is still several years away, making him a nice rebuilding pillar for the Jazz.
After all, they just got him to agree to a lucrative contract extension, the type he has reportedly wanted ever since becoming a restricted free agent earlier this summer.
Collin Sexton agrees to a 4-year $72M fully guaranteed contract with the @utahjazz! @CollinSexton02 pic.twitter.com/f3ZcMLEsvH
— Klutch Sports Group (@KlutchSports) September 1, 2022
The Concern With The Guard
There is just one issue with Sexton: He is coming off a fairly serious injury.
He tore his meniscus early last season, and as a result, he played in just 11 games all year.
A meniscus injury isn’t nearly as serious as, say, a torn ACL, but it’s understandable that some are doubting what Sexton can realistically do this year or what he’ll be from now on following his injury.
But if he is even close to what he is in the 2020-21 season, he will be a bargain with NBA salaries expected to increase significantly within a couple of years.NEXT: Talen Horton-Tucker Could Be A Part Of The Jazz's Future