Central Notes: Mitchell, Giannis, Bucks, Cunningham

Addressing Donovan Mitchell‘s contract situation on Thursday during an NBA Today appearance, Brian Windhorst of ESPN (Twitter video link) echoed a point he made in early August, suggesting that he doesn’t expect Mitchell to sign an extension this offseason and that he doesn’t believe that will be a major cause for concern for the Cavaliers.

Mitchell has two guaranteed years left on his current contract, which will pay him $33.2MM in 2023/24 and $35.4MM in ’24/25, with a player option for ’25/26. He’s eligible to sign an extension now, but could lock in a longer-term deal if he waits until next summer.

Still, Windhorst is curious to hear what Mitchell has to say publicly about his contract when he’s asked about on Media Day. It would raise eyebrows around the NBA if Mitchell follows Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s playbook and makes it clear to reporters that his future in Cleveland isn’t assured, Windhorst notes, though he doesn’t expect the All-Star guard to go that route.

“My expectation is Donovan, who’s a total pro, will handle this like he did in Utah, which was pledge his undying love to the Jazz but also keep his options open,” Windhorst said.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Antetokounmpo officially became extension-eligible on Friday, but the Bucks star has, of course, already signaled that he doesn’t plan to sign a new contract before the season begins. With that in mind, ESPN provides an in-depth look at Antetokounmpo’s options, explaining why it would benefit the star forward financially to wait until at least next offseason to consider a new deal and evaluating how the new CBA might impact the situation.
  • Asked on the Behind the Play podcast (YouTube link) about the odds of Antetokounmpo remaining in Milwaukee beyond his current contract, ESPN’s Windhorst said he thinks it’s very much up in the air. “I would say right now it’s 50/50 at best, and I don’t think that’s new information to the Bucks. I think the Bucks knew that already. They knew that even before they got knocked out of the playoffs last year,” Windhorst said. “If you look at the Bucks’ roster, which is primarily in its 30s, you look at the Bucks’ asset base, which is depleted, and you look at Giannis, who’s 28 years old, they are on different tracks.”
  • Pistons guard Cade Cunningham spoke to Tomas Azarly of ClutchPoints about his experience with the U.S. Select Team this summer and what he learned last season while spending most of the year sidelined due to a leg injury. Cunningham said that staying healthy is his biggest goal in 2023/24, followed closely by a desire to help Detroit win more games. “I want to take a leap for next year and get closer to being a championship caliber team,” he said.
View Comments (1)