NBA Rumors: Donovan Mitchell still largely expected to move on from Cavs

The smoke surrounding Donovan Mitchell's potential exit from Cleveland continues to grow.

Philadelphia 76ers v Cleveland Cavaliers
Philadelphia 76ers v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages

NBA Rumors: The Donovan Mitchell planning to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers whispers continue to grow.

Over the past two months, the Cleveland Cavaliers have emerged as the second-best team in the Eastern Conference. Donovan Mitchell is playing at an NBA MVP level and the Cavs appear to be a real threat to make a deep run in the postseason. Despite all the positives currently surrounding the Cavs, the rest of the league still can't get their mind off the possibility of Mitchell leaving Cleveland once he becomes a free agent.

According to The Ringer's Howard Beck, there's still a growing sense around the league that Mitchell is going to move on from the Cavs once his contract expires. I'd have to imagine that theory or narrative is going to be strengthened this offseason if Mitchell continues to avoid signing an extension with Cleveland.

Donovan Mitchell controls his future with the Cleveland Cavaliers

Mitchell will essentially be entering the final year of his contract with the Cavs next year and if he doesn't sign an extension before the start of the season, the writing will pretty much be on the wall. However, Mitchell could go a long way in quieting all that noise by simply signing an extension. Those around the league don't anticipate that happening.

However, if the Cavs continue to finish the season strong and make an appearance in the conference finals, you can't help but wonder if that would change. The Cavs have looked like one of the better teams so far this season and you can make the argument that they haven't even hit the ceiling of how good they can be as a team.

A trip to the Eastern Conference Finals would go a long way in helping Mitchell realize just how good the Cavs' future can be with their young core. At the same time, it may not even be about willing for Mitchell. I'm sure being on a contender is at least a part of Mitchell's plans but if there's a city he wants to play for, that's kind of the idea of free agency.

If Mitchell is waiting for free agency to leave to sign with a team he wants to be with, he only has to wait out one more season. It'd be a shame if that was the case considering how good Mitchell has been over the past two seasons in Cleveland. Even more so considering the supporting cast around Mitchell is only going to get better, starting with Darius Garland and Evan Mobley.

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But even as the Cavs experience success, the Mitchell situation is certainly something to keep an eye on heading into the final stretch of the season. And it appears there's more smoke surrounding Mitchell's potential exit from Cleveland.