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Add Houston to the list of teams watching Donovan Mitchell situation

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Two

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 09: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs at TD Garden on May 09, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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The Lakers are watching the Donovan Mitchell situation unfold in Cleveland. So are the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, and probably the New York Knicks.

Now add the Houston Rockets to that list, reports Kelly Iko at The Athletic.

Another possibility, if the Rockets were to move the No. 3 pick, is packaging it with additional assets for a star... One player who fits is Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell. The Rockets are among those interested in the 27-year-old and have been monitoring his situation for months, league sources say... Such a move for an All-NBA type player would be more suitable than for others who could potentially be available — New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram and Brooklyn’s Mikal Bridges — for example.

(Ingram is expected to be available in a trade this summer. However, all reports out of Brooklyn suggest the Nets want to build around Bridges and another star, not trade him.)

Mitchell’s situation is this: He has one year left on his contract at $35.4 million, and following that, he can be a free agent. The Cavaliers will offer him a four-year, $208.5 million contract extension this summer. The question is whether or not he signs it. If he does, other changes are coming to Cleveland as they retool the roster around him.

If Mitchell does not sign the extension, the team has to consider trading him rather than letting him walk for nothing in the summer of 2025. That is what the Rockets and a number of other teams are waiting to see. Mitchell will have some leverage in any potential trade negotiations, he can tell a team he will not re-sign with them if they trade for him.

The Rockets are out of rebuilding mode and are trying to win more now, which is why they brought in Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks last summer. This is still a young team learning its way, with Jalen Green and Alpren Sungun at the core of what is being built. Houston was a .500 team last season, that was just not good enough to even make the play-in in the West. Adding another star player, like Mitchell, would help them jump up the standings and start winning more now, which is what ownership wants.

The Cavaliers front office reportedly is confident Mitchell will re-sign, especially as they talk to him about changes to the roster (likely moving on from the backcourt of Mitchell and Darius Garland, which has never completely meshed). Coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s job is in jeopardy as well.

However, there is a long list of teams watching the situation. It may be a longshot, but if Mitchell does become available via trade, Cavaliers GM Koby Altman’s phone will be ringing off the hook.