CLEVELAND, Ohio – During Donovan Mitchell’s entire press conference, Cavaliers president Kobe Altman sat next to his new star, smiling.
Mitchell, the three-time All-Star goalkeeper, has appeared enthusiastic and honest about coming to Cleveland in what Altman described as “probably the biggest deal in franchise history.”
That may be true because the Cavs sent Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji and three future first-round draft picks to Utah for 6-foot-1 Mitchell.
Part of doing the deal for the Cavs is Mitchell’s desire to be here.
He admitted that he expected to be traded in his hometown of the New York Knicks and wanted to go there. But sending him to Cleveland piques his interest.
“Just being able to be around town, like love, that’s the only thing I can say for that” He said. “Just The love I received, the team received, I think it’s something really special. I couldn’t be more excited to go.”
what about the weather?
“I love the cold,” he insisted. “I dress better in the cold.”
He had a lot of training to do this as he grew up. He went to middle school in Connecticut and New Hampshire. He then spent his first six years as a professional in Salt Lake City.
Mitchell spoke of the crowds that were waiting for him at the airport, more than 200 of them. Talk about a quick workout he did with Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Garrett Allen and his new teammates.
One of the reasons for his quick embrace of the trade is that the Cavs didn’t tackle him in the Big Three of Garland, Mobley or Allen.
“Once I found out I was traded and what I’m going through (the existence of the Big Three) it just trumped everything for me,” Mitchell said. “I’m really excited to be here, to be a part of this group, to be a part of this city.”
Then he played the LeBron James/Cleveland card.
He said he wore James’s shirt when he was a little kid. He talked about watching the 2016 NBA Finals with his fellow Louisville Cardinals, and how he was one of the few who cheered for the Caves to come back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Golden State. He remembered yelling “Cleveland!!!” Just as James did during a post-game celebration on the field after winning 93-89 in Game 7.
“I was a fan of LeBron (James). … I was a fan of Cleveland,” he said.
Mitchell Arrived at Bourke Lake Front Airport In a Cavs shirt and Browns hat. He talked about wanting to go to the Browns and Guardians matches. He has a baseball background. His father, Donovan Mitchell Sr., was a former minor league player. He is also the current manager of player relations for the New York Mets. The father was a utility player Which made it as high as Grade AAA.
Mitchell mentioned his admiration for Guardians pitcher Triston McKenzie, and the two have already made contact.
“I saw him throw once and I was like, ‘Oh man, that skinny kid can throw,’” Mitchell said. “He also knows Amed Rosario since his Rosario days as a short guy in the Mets. He also spoke with Denzel Ward, the Browns defensive back.
He is one of the old men
There will be plenty of time to talk about Mitchell’s impact on Cleveland, whose need for another top scorer was clear towards the end of the season.
Mitchell turned 26 last week. That would probably make him the oldest player on the Cavs team.
“I can bring experience,” he said. “That’s the one thing I can definitely give off the jump. Being able to use my recordings and finding ways to create plays and get open shots of guys… Let Darius do what he’s doing, Karis (Levert) do what he’s doing. (I can) be able I also have to be a snare right there in the corner and let them have the lanes open.”
Mitchell went on to talk about playing pick and roll with 7-foot Mobley and Allen.
“Defensively, when you have two 7-footers in there,” he said. “I played against them and they both got me a few times last year, so it would be good to be in the same team as them. From that standpoint, we can achieve a lot.”
Mitchell played 39 games after the season ended, averaging 28 points.
Mitchell loved the Cleveland and the Cavaliers. He paid tribute to Brick Rubio, who is back with Cleveland. They were together when Mitchell was a freshman in Utah.
It was a great press conference in terms of embracing a new star for the city. Not only did Altman smile, but that must also be true for Cleveland FC fans.
Pluto’s last terry columns
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”