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Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell still noncommittal on long-term deal despite team owner’s confidence

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Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert recently expressed belief Donovan Mitchell will sign a contract extension with the team. 

“We’ve been talking to him, sure, for the last couple of years about extending this contract,” Gilbert said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “We think he will extend. I think if you listen to him talk, he loves the city.

However, Mitchell, who signed a five-year contract with the Utah Jazz in 2020, took a more measured approach when he responded to Gilbert’s comments. 

“I got a lot of things to focus on outside of that right now to be honest,” Mitchell told reporters Saturday. “I gotta focus on myself, getting back [from his knee injury] for this group, focusing on us getting over this stretch, continuing to be ready when it comes time.”

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Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell shoots a foul shot during the second half of a game against the Atlanta Hawks March 28, 2023, in Atlanta.  (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

According to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the five-time NBA All-Star is eligible to sign a four-year extension this summer. The contract could be worth up to an estimated $200 million. 

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“I’ll handle that when it comes,” Mitchell said of extension talks. “I’m gonna give you the same answer.”

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Mitchell’s response probably stems from the NBA guard’s desire to keep his options open. The 27-year-old is having another standout season, averaging 27.1 points and a career-best 6.1 assists per game.

Donovan Mitchell fades away

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) goes to the basket past New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) in the first half of Game 4 of an NBA first-round playoff series April 23, 2023, at Madison Square Garden in New York.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Cleveland acquired him in a blockbuster trade shortly before the 2022-23 season. The team viewed him as perhaps the final piece to contend for an NBA championship with young stars Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.

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Injuries have limited Mitchell to 49 games this season. Friday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers marked Mitchell’s first since March 16. He finished with 12 points in 32 minutes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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