Central Notes: Mitchell, Rubio, Cunningham, P. Williams

Donovan Mitchell is eligible for a contract extension this offseason, but there’s no indication that he and the Cavaliers intend to seriously discuss a new deal, and that shouldn’t be a cause for concern in Cleveland, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during a recent NBA Today appearance (YouTube link).

“Maybe if the Cavs had won the championship last year, maybe Donovan would extend, but I don’t think under any (other) circumstances he was ever considering extending this season, and I think the Cavs knew that when they traded for him,” Windhorst said. “I think the pressure point comes a year from now, when he’s got one year left on his contract. … The Cavs have another year to see where their team is at and where Donovan sees that the Cavs are at.”

Mitchell actually has three seasons left on his current contract, but the final year is a player option, so he can reach free agency as early as 2025. That means he’ll essentially be entering a contract year next summer, which is why Windhorst refers to it as a “pressure point.” The Cavs’ performance – and Mitchell’s own play – in 2023/24 could go a long way toward determining whether the star guard is willing to sign a long-term extension with the team a year from now.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Although Ricky Rubio made his announcement about putting his career on hold for mental health reasons through the Spanish Basketball Federation, the Cavaliers were aware the news was coming and are “fully supportive” of the veteran point guard, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. It remains to be seen whether or not Rubio will be available for the Cavs when the NBA season begins this fall.
  • Pistons guard Cade Cunningham has been the standout player on the U.S. Select Team that has been competing against Team USA’s World Cup squad this week in Las Vegas and has beaten it in multiple scrimmages so far, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. While Cunningham’s play in those scrimmages is encouraging for the Pistons and their fans, the former No. 1 pick says he’s simply happy to be back to 100% after a leg injury limited him to 12 games in 2022/23. “I feel healthy again,” Cunningham said. “My leg isn’t a problem for me right now. So I think that’s the biggest difference, just that I can just play freely and not think about my body too much.”
  • Given Cunningham’s strong play in Vegas, it’s fair to wonder whether he should be a part of Team USA’s actual World Cup roster instead of the Select Team. A previous report indicated that the Pistons guard was invited to join the World Cup team, which Joe Vardon of The Athletic confirms. According to Vardon, Cunningham explained this week that a desire to manage his workload this summer ahead of his NBA return was the “deciding factor” in turning down that invitation.
  • While it’s unclear if former No. 4 overall pick Patrick Williams has shown enough in his first three NBA seasons to warrant a rookie scale extension from the Bulls this offseason, teammate DeMar DeRozan remains a big believer in Williams’ potential, as Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times details.
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