Grade the Trade: Rockets land a star, give up on Jalen Green in blockbuster proposal

The Houston Rockets have been linked to Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell. Can they pool their assets to win the bidding and trade for their next star?
Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers
Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Laying out a Donovan Mitchell deal

The Cleveland Cavaliers hope to convince Donovan Mitchell to sign a contract extension this summer when he first becomes eligible, the day after the NBA Finals. There are conflicting reports as to how confident the organization is that he will commit, but the benefit for Cleveland is that they will find out for sure ahead of the NBA Draft whether Mitchell is signing the extension.

If he declines to sign it, whether with a formal trade request or not, the Cavaliers will have to decide whether to risk going into the season with Mitchell able to walk in free agency the next summer (2025) or to begin fielding trade offers. The second the door to a trade is opened, the Rockets are likely to swoop in and make their offer.

When the Cavaliers originally traded for Mitchell two years ago, they sent a couple of established young players in Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton, rookie Ochai Agbaji, three first-round picks and two pick swaps. There is no chance they get that same level of return for Mitchell now, but the Rockets are one of the few teams who can come close.

Here is what their offer could look like:

Mitchell Rockets No. 3 pick

The Cavaliers are good enough without Mitchell that they will likely continue to try and compete, but young enough that they can accept an offer of young players and picks and retool around Darius Garland and Evan Mobley (and potentially Jarrett Allen if he is kept). This trade gives them a Mitchell replacement in Jalen Green to develop, a pair of talented forwards in Tari Eason and Jae'Sean Tate and the No. 3 pick.

That's a lot of value for Cleveland, and likely more attractive than many of the packages other interested parties would send with veteran matching salary and far-off draft picks. The Cavs can maintain a young core in a similar age range and build out a lineup for the future. That No. 3 pick in particular is significantly higher than Cleveland is likely to pick for a decade.

If Cleveland is on board, should the Rockets make this trade? Or is Green plus the No. 3 pick too high a price to pay?