Grizzlies reporter drops major truth bomb on rumored Donovan Mitchell trade idea

Cleveland Cavaliers v Memphis Grizzlies
Cleveland Cavaliers v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Every offseason, several stars strewn across the association are rumored to be disgruntled with their situations and, in turn, are believed to be possible trade options. For the second time in three years, Donovan Mitchell appears to be found within this verticle and, interestingly enough, the Memphis Grizzlies are surprisingly being tabbed as a team that could look to pursue his services.

According to Cavaliers beat writer Evan Dammarell, several teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, and Miami Heat have all been "confirmed" to have interest in pursuing the 27-year-old this summer should he be placed on the trade block, and other sources have informed him that the Memphis Grizzlies could also be a team "worth monitoring in a possible Mitchell sweepstakes.”

As many may know, this is far from the first time the Cleveland guard has been linked to Memphis in hypothetical trade rumblings, for pundits have been drawing up blockbuster ideas frequently over the last several weeks.

However, no matter how often such a topic is discussed, the idea is often viewed as an ill-fitting one when considering the state of coach Taylor Jenkins' depth chart, and, on a recent episode of Locked on Grizzlies, host and beat reporter Damichael Cole set the record straight on a theoretical Donovan Mitchell addition.

Grizzlies beat reporter slams concept of a Donovan Mitchell trade

"Ja Morant and Desmond Bane, that's your backcourt for the next, what, five years at least. Donovan Mitchell [is] a great player, a better player than Desmond Bane. If you just want to chalk it up to one-on-one -- look at the numbers, look at what he's done in his career. But, he's not a better fit than Desmond Bane playing alongside Ja Morant. I can tell you that. I think Donovan Mitchell is at his best when he's able to be in pick-and-roll, operate with the ball in his hand. At the end of the day it's Ja Morant and Donovan Mitchell. It would work. It would work, duh! But, would it work to the level of championship success? That's what the Grizzlies are in pursuit of here. We're not talking about trying to win a few regular season games or getting into the playoffs. We're talking about championship success and I'm of the thought that Ja Morant and Desmond Bane is a good enough backcourt... Donovan Mitchell [is a] great player but I'm not feeling this one."

Damichael Cole

Despite having the accolades of All-Star nods and All-NBA selections, Mitchell's successes in the NBA from a team standpoint have gone equally as far as Bane's: The conference semifinals.

As Cole rightly noted, from a talent and overall player standpoint, the Cavaliers star is the superior option compared to the Grizzlies guard. From scoring outputs to overall aggression and intensity, Mitchell is clearly the better commodity.

That said, individual skills don't necessarily translate to better success from an organizational standpoint and, when it comes to the concept of Mitchell or Bane running alongside the ball-dominant Ja Morant in the backcourt, all signs clearly point to the latter being the prefferable fit by a considerable margin.

Cole alluded to the fact that Mitchell is at his best when serving as the focal point ball handler, and this sentiment was only strengthened during the 2023-24 campaign when Cleveland's starting point guard Darius Garland was sidelined due to injury for a month and a half mid-way through the year, as the seventh-year veteran went on to post awe-inspiring numbers of 28.0 points, 7.9 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.9 steals on 47.0 percent shooting while taking on more of a ball-dominant role.

Alongside a healthy Morant, Mitchell would only see a regression in handling opportunities, thus limiting the upside he possesses as a star player.

Even in the event that Memphis did make a trade for the Cavaliers stud and, surprisingly, were able to hold onto Bane, doing so could prove to be self sabotaging in a sense, as it would severely shrink their starting lineup (all three of Morant, Mitchell, and Bane measure in at 6-foot-5 or lower) and, by moving Marcus Smart to the bench, would negatively impact their defensive potential as a unit.

Following a 27-55 season, it should go without saying that the Grizzlies should be interested in bolstering their talent pool ahead of the 2024-25 season. However, when healthy, their backcourt depth is far from being considered an area in need of being tweaked, thus making it hard to believe that Zach Kleiman and company are seriously considering striking on a deal for the likes of Mitchell.

According to Cole, such an idea should be rather far from this front office's mind.