The Wizards were never competing for Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz, Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz, Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

Recently, we at Wiz of Awes wrote about how the Wizards should get involved in a three team deal to help the New York Knicks acquire star Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz. Shortly after that happened, the Cleveland Cavaliers made a blockbuster trade of their own to add the 25 year old all-star.

The Cavaliers are making a bold push in the Eastern Conference that isn’t so surprising once you look further into the details. They have two young cornerstones on their roster in Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, not to mention long term key pieces in Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro.

Looking back, the Wizards own pursuit of Mitchell looks to be more of a dream than any of us even assumed. Simply based off of the package that wound up getting Mitchell, we confirmed a lot of our own suspicions from the get go.

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The Wizards were simply leverage for the Utah Jazz

The return for Mitchell wound up being three first round draft picks, two first round pick swaps, Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen and Ochai Agbaji. Agbaji was the Cavs first round pick this year, essentially being a fourth first round draft pick for the Jazz.

Looking at that incredible return, one naturally wonders what the Wizards would have been able to offer in order to compete with that deal. Sexton and Lauri are both young veterans with a fair amount of upside remaining to become key role players in their prime NBA years.

Agbaji and the picks, including the pick swaps, are potentially franchise altering for both franchises. A risk the Cavaliers can afford to make with multiple young talents already on their roster before adding Mitchell.

Immediately, the Wizards would have to gut their upcoming picks and include rookie lottery pick Johnny Davis for any trade. Than, would would assume it would require a combination of Deni Avdija and Rui Hachimura just to get in the same ball park as the Cavs offer.

While Mitchell could and would change the expectations and talent in Washington, he would still leave them short of being a real contender in the Western Conference. It’s fair to assume the Wizards front office would easily pass up on whatever requirements were involved to add Mitchell.

If they would have done that kind of trade, they would have set themselves up for a complete step backwards in a few seasons when Mitchell would inevitably walk away in free agency because the team remained far away from true contention.

Wiz fans continue to be hard on the front office in place, and rightfully so. In this case, though, there lack of a trade was because they were simply leverage for the Utah Jazz from the very beginning.

Not only could they not afford Mitchell, they also would be correct to pass on the asking price even if it could fall into their price range. The Wizards can’t gut their future draft picks unless it makes them a contender this year. Acquiring a talent as good as Mitchell simply would leave them far away from being a real contender.

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