Donovan Mitchell’s next contract with the Cavaliers could make NBA history

After Jaylen Brown signed the most lucrative deal in NBA history on Tuesday, Donovan Mitchell could surpass him.
brown jaylen donovan mitchell cavs celtics
BOSTON, MA – MARCH 1: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics defends against Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the fourth quarter at TD Garden on March 1, 2023, in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: The user expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and using this Photograph, the user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Despite it being the dog days of the NBA offseason, Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown made waves on Tuesday morning. According to multiple reports, the Celtics and Brown agreed on a five-year, $304 million supermax contract extension. Every cent is guaranteed for Brown, making it the richest deal in NBA history and will keep the two-time All-Star under contract with Boston through the 2028-29 season. Brown is expected to make $52.3 million when the contract kicks in during the 2024-25 season and $69.1 million in the final year of the deal.

The sticker shock turned many heads, especially when the financial ramifications of Brown’s new deal started to enter the ether. Sure, Brown is arguably one of the best two-way players at his position, Boston has made the playoffs in each of Brown’s seven NBA seasons and he’s part of one of the NBA’s most dynamic duos alongside teammate Jayson Tatum. But Brown still has his wrinkles as a player considering that he struggles mightily in the biggest moments for the Celtics and has no handle of his own.

Mind you this isn’t a story crying for the pocketbooks of billionaire NBA owners. It’s just the reality of the situation and for organizations to keep their superstar talent, they have to foot the bill. Like NFL quarterbacks, Brown’s contract will only be the richest for so long, especially when Tatum is eligible for a supermax extension next summer. But, for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it can be eye-opening to see the cost to contend in today’s NBA, especially with superstar Donovan Mitchell possibly in line for a lucrative payday.

In Mitchell’s first season in Cleveland, he was the team’s most valuable player during the regular season and was named to All-NBA honors for the first time in his career. If Mitchell follows up last season with a similar or even better performance, then like Brown, he will also be in line for a substantial payday, but not a supermax extension.

Reading that a few times over probably seems confusing, considering how good Mitchell has been his entire career. But since the Utah Jazz traded Mitchell to the Cavaliers, his pre-requisite checklist reset when he landed on the shores of Lake Erie. Mitchell would only be eligible for a supermax-level deal if he stayed with the Jazz, worth $338 million over five years. That’s also assuming Mitchell landed All-NBA honors with the Jazz during the 2022-23 and 2023-24 NBA seasons.

Regardless, how much will Mitchell make considering that Brown broke the scales and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to kick in? Sit back since there are about to be many numbers thrown around, and it can be a lot to digest at once.

brown mitchell cavs knicks supermax
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 23: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates during Round 1 Game 4 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2023 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

First, let’s start with what we know about Mitchell’s current financial situation knowing only what he’s done up to this point. Next summer, the Cavaliers could offer Mitchell a contract extension worth $259.5 million over five years starting with the 2026-27 season and would end after the 2030-31 season, when Mitchell is 34 years old. This deal would assume Mitchell doesn’t earn All-NBA honors next year and that he would pick up his player option for the 2025-26 season, worth nearly $37.1 million.

Starting with the 2026-27 NBA season, Mitchell could make an average of $51.9 million annually, a 40% increase over the final year of his existing deal. Again, this assumes that Mitchell does pick up his player option for the 2026-27 season and signs an extension before then. If Mitchell does pick up his option but doesn’t sign an extension, and there could be a chance that he doesn’t, then the financial ramifications are much more intense.

Once Mitchell plays out the final year of his existing contract, he will hit the ten-year mark in the NBA, which makes him eligible to sign an extension for as much as 35% of Cleveland’s salary cap. Assuming things increase to the expected amount salary-cap-wise, Mitchell could sign a five-year, $267.5 million extension with the Cavaliers during the 2026-27 season. Things can escalate even further if Mitchell elects to enter free agency, where he is eligible to sign with Cleveland on a five-year, $372 million deal. Sure, other teams could sign him to a shorter contract, but if Mitchell could earn as much as $63.5 million in one season alone with the Cavaliers, that should be on the table.

Considering there’s been endless, sometimes reckless speculation on Mitchell’s future (this is for the weirdos online who don’t like Mitchell being a Mets fan), the Cavaliers might have to open up The Money Bin to pay him and keep him in Cleveland. But the fact that Mitchell can dribble the basketball in movement (something Brown can’t do), Mitchell is worth more than Brown on the open market based on that fact alone.

Jokes aside, with how much the NBA is growing financially, Mitchell can make more than Brown in a few years without ever signing a supermax deal. Sure, there could be concerns about how Mitchell has performed in the postseason as of late. But how Mitchell has looked in the postseason shouldn’t crystalize his entire body of work considering how dominant he can be in the regular season. Besides, that’s just the nature of the beast. As teams make more money and more talent flourishes, the asking price will only increase. For Cleveland, Mitchell might be worth it.

Evan Dammarell is an award-winning sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also email him at He can also be found three to five times weekly on Locked On Cavs, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network.

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