Two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was once again the best player on the floor to lead his Milwaukee Bucks to a 117-102 victory against the breakout Cleveland Cavaliers.

Both teams entered the contest as a top-three seed in the Eastern Conference, and despite a 29-point effort from offseason trade acquisition Donovan Mitchell, the Cavs had no answer for the Bucks' future Hall-of-Famer.

Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting, hitting 10 of his 14 free throws while adding nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks. 

While usual running-mate Jrue Holiday was not at his sharpest, shooting four-of-13 for his nine points, it was veteran center Brook Lopez who turned out to be the Bucks' second star.

Lopez scored eight points without missing a field goal, hitting both of his three-point attempts, and he was a force defensively, blocking six shots for the second time this season, and it was the fifth time from his 17 games that he has blocked at least five shots.

His 2.6 blocks per game is a new career-high in his 15th season, and the second-best figure in the league, trailing only Myles Turner (2.8) of the Indiana Pacers. 

Along with Antetokounmpo, the pair are anchoring the best defense in the league, conceding 105.9 points per 100 possessions – almost two points per 100 possessions better than any other team.

With the win, the Bucks are now 13-5 and 10-2 at home, while the Cavaliers fall to 12-7, and remain the third seed.

Lakers make it four wins from five

The return of LeBron James has helped the Los Angeles Lakers win their fourth game from their past five outings, defeating the San Antonio Spurs 105-94.

After missing five games with an adductor injury, James was more than a little rusty as he committed nine turnovers for only the ninth time in his 1377-game career. However, he still chipped in 21 points on eight-of-17 shooting with eight rebounds and five assists.

Enjoying his best statistical start to a season since arriving with the Lakers, Anthony Davis scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting, grabbing 15 rebounds to increase his career-high average to 12.6, and he blocked three shots.

Pacers keep on winning

The Indiana Pacers are meant to be in a rebuilding year, but after their 128-117 win against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday they now own the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Myles Turner continued his career-best season with an efficient 23 points on nine-of-11 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds and blocking two shots, while pick-and-pop partner Tyrese Haliburton had 15 assists and four steals to go with his 21 points. Haliburton leads the league in assists at 10.9 per game, and is the only player averaging over 9.4.

Kevin Durant was not to blame for the Nets' loss, scoring a game-high 38 points (15-of-31) with eight rebounds and eight assists, while Ben Simmons scored 20 points on perfect eight-for-eight shooting.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have quietly built an elite championship profile with a top-five offense and a top-five defense, and they were too good for fellow Eastern Conference playoff contenders the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

Against the Hawks, the Cavaliers rode the offensive brilliance of their two All-Star guards. Darius Garland, who the team drafted fifth overall back in 2019, had an efficient 26 points on nine-of-14 shooting, while their offseason trade acquisition Donovan Mitchell top-scored with 29 points on 11-of-22 shooting.

While having two terrific scorers in the backcourt is one thing, having two elite playmakers unlocks a whole new level of play.

Both Garland and Mitchell finished with nine assists each, with Mitchell averaging a career-high 5.8 assists since arriving from the Utah Jazz, while Garland's 7.7 assists per contest ties him for the sixth-most in the league.

When factoring in that they both play close to 40 minutes a night, coach J.B. Bickerstaff can stagger his rotation in a way where one of them is always on the floor, giving them 48 minutes of structured, competent offense, regardless of who the four surrounding players are.

While their dynamic duo are the heartbeat of their offensive success – producing the fifth-best offensive rating in the league at 114.8 points per 100 possessions – they have an equally impactful pairing in the frontcourt with seven-footers Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.

Allen, along with Garland, was honoured last season as a first-time All-Star, while Mobley came into the league as one of the greatest defensive prospects in the history of college basketball.

It is the brilliance of that combination that has allowed the Cavaliers to concede the third-fewest points per 100 possessions (108.2) despite starting two small guards, making them the only team in the top-five of both offensive and defensive efficiency.

After Monday's win against the Hawks, Garland spoke about how their defense was able to deliver a 12-point win despite committing 20 turnovers as a team.

"We're just trying to cut the turnovers down, really – even though we had a lot tonight, we made it up on defense," he said.

"That's how we got easy buckets and got out in transition – got us a couple lay-ups, a couple lobs, and that's really what got us going.

"Our team is just unselfish – everybody sees it. We all love each other, we just want to win, we're just competitors."

Coach Bickerstaff expanded on what makes their defense so good during his postgame press conference, pointing to it as a driving force of their offense, as well.

"We've shown what we're capable of defensively," he said. "We know when we're at our best we can create stops, we can force turnovers, we can create easy opportunities for ourselves.

"In that fourth quarter, holding them to 17 points until that last three – that's how you win basketball games against good teams. You lock down defensively, and that helped our offense.

"When you're getting stops, you're playing in the flow and not against a set defense as much. All of our stuff works together – our offense helps our defense, and our defense helps our offense

"We need to be able to slow the game down and control the game. If you have to go against our half-court defense, you're going to be in for a tough time."

He went on to discuss how special the Allen and Mobley connection is, and why it is such a stark difference when Allen is out injured. The Cavaliers have a woeful defensive rating of 126.6 in the two games Allen has missed this season, and what would be a league-leading figure of 104.0 in the 15 games he has played.

"Jarrett is a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber player," he said. "When you take that away, it's obviously going to have an impact. 

"But when he's on the floor, we're a different team, and when our two big guys are on the floor together, and they're working as a pair, they're hard to score on.

"Evan [Mobley] is an All-Defensive player himself, we're extremely fortunate to have two guys who can defend the way they can defend. When they're working together, you're hard-pressed to find easy looks out there."

With the win, the Cavaliers are now 7-1 at home and 11-6 overall, occupying the third seed in the Eastern Conference – a position they will be aiming to maintain all season.

Donovan Mitchell's spectacular start to life with the Cleveland Cavaliers continued against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, scoring 33 points in a 114-100 win.

Mitchell's 33 points was a game-high, and he delivered his production efficiently, hitting 10-of-17 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free throw line.

Through his first eight games with the Cavs since being acquired from the Utah Jazz in an offseason trade, Mitchell is averaging 31.1 points and 7.1 assists per game – both comfortably above his career-highs (26.4 points and 5.3 assists).

He was supported strongly by fellow All-Star Darius Garland, who chipped in 24 points (seven-of-18) and seven assists, while Kevin Love contributed a double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) in 20 minutes off the bench.

For the Lakers, LeBron James was strong with 27 points on 13-of-23 shooting, adding seven rebounds and four assists, and Russell Westbrook posted 19 points (six-of-13) with 10 assists as he continues to produce well in a sixth-man role.

Cleveland are now 8-1, and are one of only two teams, along with the 9-0 Milwaukee Bucks, who are yet to record their second loss.

VanVleet steps up in Siakam's absence

With the Toronto Raptors' top option Pascal Siakam out for at least the next two weeks, Fred VanVleet stepped up and led his team to a 113-104 victory against the Chicago Bulls.

VanVleet finished with 30 points on nine-of-22 shooting, and also added 11 assists in an offensive masterclass from the diminutive point guard, posting a plus/minus of plus 27 in his 39 minutes. That means in the nine minutes VanVleet was on the bench, the Raptors were outscored by 18.

Starting in the place of Siakam was rookie Christian Koloko, and he made a big impression as he blocked six shots with his 11 points and seven rebounds.

Alex Caruso produced a noteworthy performance for the Bulls, finishing with an unconventional double-double as he collected 11 rebounds and 11 assists, while shooting one-of-11 for four points.

Bane, Morant carry the Grizzlies 

Desmond Bane and Ja Morant combined for nearly half of the Memphis Grizzlies' points in their 103-97 win against the Washington Wizards.

While Morant struggled with his efficiency, only hitting nine of his 27 shots on his way to 23 points, Bane was terrific, scoring 28 on nine-of-16 shooting. 

The Grizzlies are now 7-3, and Bane has been at the centre of their early success, elevating himself to potentially an All-Star level in his third season as he is averaging 24.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 46 per cent from long-range.

Dejounte Murray showed exactly why the Atlanta Hawks pulled the trigger on their big offseason trade, carrying his new team to a 112-99 road win against the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

Murray, 26, was a first-time All-Star this past season with the San Antonio Spurs, before the Hawks traded for him in a deal centred around three first-round draft picks.

There were eyebrows raised at the time about if Murray could fit and produce next to another All-Star point guard in Trae Young, but he continued to exceed expectations in a starring performance against the Knicks.

He finished with a game-high and career-high 36 points on 14-of-27 shooting, hitting five of his 12 three-point attempts while adding nine assists, six steals and four rebounds. 

His performance came at a good time for the Hawks, with Young struggling on his way to 17 points on seven-of-22 shooting after briefly leaving the game due to a nasty scratch to his eye

It is the first time this season Murray has surpassed 26 points in a game – also setting season-highs for field goal makes and attempts, three-point makes and attempts, and steals.

Also finding his footing with a new team, the Knicks' Jalen Brunson was comfortably his side's best performer, finishing with an efficient 20 points (eight-of-15 shooting) and five assists.

Since arriving with the Knicks, Brunson is averaging career-highs in points (18.2), assists (7.2), rebounds (4.2) and steals (1.3).

Bucks remain the NBA's last undefeated team

It was smooth sailing for the Milwaukee Bucks in their 116-91 home win against the Detroit Pistons, moving to 7-0 for the season as the only team without a loss.

Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is making a strong case as the favourite to win his third, continuing his blistering start to the season with 32 points (11-of-24 shooting, 10-of-12 free throws), 12 rebounds, five steals, four assists and two blocks.

He was supported in style by Jrue Holiday, who hit 11 of his 16 shots on his way to 26 points and seven rebounds.

Doncic mounts his own MVP case

Antetokounmpo's biggest challenger for this year's MVP trophy appears to be Luka Doncic, who carried his Dallas Mavericks to a 103-100 win over the Utah Jazz.

In the win, which lifted the Mavericks to 4-3, Doncic shot 60 per cent from the field for his 33 points (12-of-20), leading the game in points and assists (11). Doncic has now scored at least 30 points in each of his team's first seven games, becoming the first player to do so since Wilt Chamberlain in 1962-63.

Still yet to break into the starting lineup after being acquired from the Houston Rockets, Christian Wood put in a strong showing off the bench, scoring 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting with 10 rebounds.

Garland returns in Cavaliers' overtime win

All-Star point guard Darius Garland returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers' lineup and played a big part in their 114-113 overtime win at home against the Boston Celtics.

Having not played since suffering an eye injury in the Cavs' season-opener, Garland did not miss a beat, dishing a game-high 12 assists to go with his 29 points (nine-of-20 shooting) in 42 minutes.

Running-mate Donovan Mitchell showed there were plenty of shots to go around, chipping in 25 points (11-of-27) with six assists in the first real look at the Cavaliers' two-pronged attack using their All-Star backcourt.

Paolo Banchero showed exactly why the Orlando Magic took him with the first overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, nearly posting his first career triple-double as his side defeated the Charlotte Hornets 113-93 on Friday.

With last year's fifth overall pick Jalen Suggs and starting point guard Cole Anthony both missing through injuries, Orlando opted to not start a traditional point guard and instead let their new star run the show.

He looked right at home as the focal point of the Magic's offense, scoring 21 points on eight-of-14 shooting while adding 12 rebounds and seven assists to deliver their first win of the season.

Even more impressive was the fact that almost all of that production came in the first three quarters, as Orlando built an 82-53 lead heading into the fourth and Banchero sat out the final nine minutes.

Through six career games, Banchero is averaging 24 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, and is yet to score less than 20 points in a contest.

Lakers lose again despite James' best efforts

LeBron James' 28 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals were not enough to bring an end to the Los Angeles Lakers' winless start to the season, falling to 0-5 after a 111-102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

James shot 10-of-24 from the field and one-of-six from deep, and in his first game off the bench since his rookie season, Russell Westbrook was plagued by similar issues.

Westbrook shot six-of-17 for his 18 points, while also missing half of his 10 free throws and committing five turnovers.

For the Wolves, Anthony Edwards led the scoring with 29 points on 11-of-22 shooting, while Rudy Gobert was seven-of-11 for 22 points and 21 rebounds to lift their record to 4-2.

Antetokounmpo mounts case for third MVP

With two MVP trophies already in his display case, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo made it clear why he is one of the favourites yet again this season with a powerhouse performance in a 119-108 win against the New York Knicks.

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in made field goals (11), made free throws (seven), points (30), rebounds (14) and assists (nine) in a true virtuoso showing. He was supported well, with six teammates making their way into double figures, including 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench from Bobby Portis.

With the win, the Bucks are now 4-0, and the only remaining unbeaten team.

LeVert and Mitchell drop 41 each in overtime Cavaliers win

Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers went head-to-head with star Boston Celtics duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and emerged 132-123 winners in overtime.

While Brown and Tatum had 32 each at a combined 22-of-41 from the field (54 per cent), the Cavs pairing played even better, scoring 41 each off a combined 27-of-47 (57 per cent).

Second-year phenom Evan Mobley also had a big hand in the win, chipping in 19 points (seven-of-12 shooting) with 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Joel Embiid scored 40 points but it was not enough to prevent the Philadelphia 76ers from slumping to a 0-3 start to the new NBA season after a 114-105 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

James Harden had minimal impact in the second half as Spurs small forward Doug McDermott took control with an eight-point burst, capping his 14 points, which all came in the second half.

The 76ers, who had been beaten by contenders, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, to open their season, squandered Embiid's huge game where he shot 14-of-25 from the field and hauled down 13 rebounds with two blocks.

Harden only added 12 points on four-of-18 shooting, making one-of-six three-point attempts. The former MVP provided 12 assists with nine rebounds and two blocks, but was inconspicuous in the second half with the game up for grabs, with the Spurs defense denying him good looks.

Tyrese Maxey contributed 25 points for the 76ers, including three triples, but Philadelphia slumped to their first 0-3 start since 2016-17.

Devin Vassell (22 points with nine-of-14 field shooting, including four three-pointers) and Keldon Johnson (21 points with eight rebounds) were San Antonio's most productive offensive players.

Mitchell betters LeBron start for Cavs

Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points as he claimed his first win as a Cleveland Cavaliers player in their 128-96 victory over the Chicago Bulls in their home season opener.

Mitchell achieved a feat that not even LeBron James could, becoming the first Cavs player with back-to-back 30-point games to open a season.

The All-Star, who made a high-profile trade from the Utah Jazz to the Cavs in the off-season, landed four-of-six from beyond the arc with nine rebounds and eight assists.

Zach LaVine returned after off-season knee surgery that forced him to miss Chicago's opening two games to top score for the Bulls with 23 points.

Giannis powers Bucks past Rockets

Giannis Antetokounmpo only needed 28 minutes to put on an MVP-like display as the Milwaukee Bucks routed the Houston Rockets 125-105 in their home opener at Fiserv Forum.

Antetokounmpo scored 44 points, shooting 17-of-21 from the field with two three-pointers, along with 12 rebounds and three assists.

The Greek forward became Milwaukee's all-time free throws leader, shooting eight-of-13 from the stripe to exceed Sidney Moncrief's 3,505 record, before sitting out with 8:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Jayson Tatum also scored 40 points to lead the 3-0 Boston Celtics past the 0-3 Orlando Magic 126-120, while Paul George had 40 in the Los Angeles Clippers' 111-109 win over the Sacramento Kings.

The New Orleans Pelicans sent a statement to the rest of the league with a 130-108 pounding of the Brooklyn Nets in their opening game of the season on Wednesday night.

Playing away from home, the Pelicans enjoyed a red-hot start, with eight points in the first quarter from Zion Williamson helping to build a 32-14 lead at the first break.

The Nets showed some fight in the second quarter, putting up 36 points in the frame to trim the margin to 58-50 as Kevin Durant had 21 in the first half, but the Pelicans came out of halftime and dropped 40 points in the third period to put the game to bed.

In his first game since May 2021, Williamson looked in tremendous shape, scoring 25 points on 11-of-22 shooting while adding nine rebounds, three assists and four steals. 

He was supported in fine fashion by Brandon Ingram, who top-scored for the Pelicans with 28 points (10-of-17 shooting), seven rebounds and five assists, and C.J. McCollum chipped in 21 points and six assists as well.

For the Nets, Durant showed he is still arguably the best scorer in the league with 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting, and he also tallied four blocks in an impressive two-way performance despite his team's shortcomings.

Box-office Banchero validates top draft selection 

Paolo Banchero was not thought to be an option for the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick until the day of the NBA Draft, but he showed exactly why they took him with a spectacular debut in a 113-109 loss on the road to the Detroit Pistons.

Banchero shattered the Magic record for points by a debuting rookie – previously set at 13 – with 27 on 11-of-18 shooting, and he also grabbed nine rebounds and dished five assists in a complete performance, posting a plus/minus of plus two in his 35 minutes.

It was a great debut for rookie Jaden Ivey as well, who the Pistons selected with the fifth overall pick, as he put up 19 points on eight-of-15 shooting with four assists and three steals.

Ivey complemented last year's top pick Cade Cunningham beautifully, with Cunningham running the show on his way to 18 points (six-of-16 shooting) and 10 assists, while newly acquired Bojan Bogdanovic top-scored for Detroit with 24 points on eight-of-16 shooting after hitting six of his first seven three-point attempts.

Morant lifts the Grizzlies in overtime

Ja Morant had his potential game-winner wiped off the board due to a contentious charging foul, but his Memphis Grizzlies got the job done at home in overtime to defeat the New York Knicks 115-112.

Morant was the game's top-scorer with 34 points on 11-of-24 shooting, and his nine assists was equal with New York's Jalen Brunson for the most in the contest.

Starting in place of the injured Jaren Jackson Jr, Santi Aldama gave a good performance with 18 points (seven-of-14 shooting) and 11 rebounds, while Julius Randle was the Knicks' best player, scoring 24 points (nine-of-16 shooting) with 11 rebounds and six assists.

Mitchell shines in Cavaliers debut despite loss

The Cleveland Cavaliers were treated to a terrific debut from star offseason acquisition Donovan Mitchell, but it was not enough to overcome an early Darius Garland injury in a 108-105 road loss to the Toronto Raptors.

All-Star point guard Garland only played 13 minutes before his night ended with a rough poke to the eye in the second quarter. Taking over some of Garland's point guard responsibilities, Mitchell dished off nine assists as well as leading the game in scoring with 31 on 12-of-21 shooting.

All five Raptors starters scored at least 15 points in classic Toronto fashion, with Pascal Siakam tallying 23 on nine-of-20 shooting with 11 rebounds and four steals, while reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes had 15 points (seven-of-14 shooting) with seven assists and a game-high plus/minus of plus 20 in his 32 minutes.

Three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell admitted his preseason debut for the Cleveland Cavaliers was "definitely weird" following his blockbuster offseason trade from the Utah Jazz.

Mitchell left the Jazz after five seasons in Salt Lake City, opting against a move to the New York Knicks to join an exciting Cavs line-up where he will play in the backcourt alongside Darius Garland.

The Cavs also boast All-Star Jarrett Allen and 2021-22 Rookie of the Year runner-up Evan Mobley along with veteran Kevin Love, offering hope of their first playoffs campaign since 2017-18.

Mitchell played 19 minutes, scoring 16 points on six-for-nine shooting, including three three-pointers along with five assists, in the Cavs' 113-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in his first outing for his new franchise.

"Today, I just kind of sat there and had one of those moments where you sit there and look out and see everything, and it's like, 'Wow. It's really here'," Mitchell said.

"Then once you get on the court, basketball is basketball. But all the little things, it's definitely weird. A little different. But I'm excited. It's going the way I thought it would, in a good way.

"It just didn't feel real… it still didn't hit me yet."

Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was pleased with Mitchell's initial cohesion alongside All-Star point guard Garland.

"I thought it was pretty seamless," Bickerstaff said. "The way they played together, the way the ball moved, everybody got involved.

"As long as we play in the same style we want to play, where it isn't just based on one guy, but based on the team, I think it's going to work out well for us."

The Cavs finished last season with a 44-38 record, missing the playoffs after losing in the Play-In Tournament to the Atlanta Hawks in the number eight seed game.

LeBron James scored 23 points in the first half and Donovan Mitchell made his Cleveland Cavaliers debut to highlight Wednesday's NBA preseason action.

Against the Phoenix Suns, James shot eight-of-11 from the field, including three-of-six from deep, adding four assists, three rebounds, a steal and no turnovers in his 17 minutes, helping the Los Angeles Lakers to a 69-62 halftime lead.

They would end up losing 119-115 as James would sit out the entire second half while fringe rotation players got a chance for some extended run, with Kendrick Nunn scoring 21 points on eight-of-13 shooting as he prepares for a significant role for the Lakers this season.

Devin Booker scored 22 points on seven-of-20 shooting, and Chris Paul posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists.

Meanwhile, Mitchell was impressive in his first action in a Cavaliers uniform, scoring 16 points on six-of-nine shooting before also sitting out the second half of his side's 113-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Tyrese Maxey led the 76ers with 22 points on nine-of-11 shooting, while Joel Embiid had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists in his 18 minutes.

Donovan Mitchell has admitted he "came close" to heading to the New York Knicks, before eventually being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The former Utah Jazz guard and three-time All-Star was part of arguably the biggest trade of the offseason, with the Jazz receiving three unprotected first-round picks.

They include two future first-round pick swaps in guard Collin Sexton and stretch forward Lauri Markkanen, as well as Ochai Agbaji, the 14th selection from this year's NBA Draft.

Mitchell had been one of the most desirable names on the market after it became clear the Jazz were entering a rebuild following their trade of three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Despite being "excited" to be in Cleveland, Mitchell – who is from New York – told ESPN he was close to signing for the Knicks.

"Very close, I won't say more than that, I know a little bit more than most, but definitely very close," he said. "I was truly excited when I got traded [to the Cavaliers], but we were, it was, it was close [to the Knicks]."

He also disputed comments from Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, who claimed earlier in the week that Utah's players last season "didn't really believe in each other".

"I don't think we didn't believe [in each other]," Mitchell riposted. "I said at the end of the season, 'don't trade [Gobert]. Let's figure this out, let's do.' And that didn't happen.

"For [Ainge] to say that after six months around the team, I disagree. But you know, at the end of the day, that's his decision."

The 25-year-old spent five seasons in Utah, averaging 23.9 points per game, as well as 4.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge says the side lacked resolve and did not believe in each other last season leading to their first-round playoffs exit.

Former Phoenix Suns player and head coach Ainge stepped into the Jazz role in January, after the side had the best record (52-20) in the Western Conference in 2020-21.

But the Jazz bowed out of the 2021-22 playoffs at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, after a 49-33 season.

Key players including Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have since left, along with head coach Quin Snyder who resigned in June, marking a period of change for Utah.

"What I saw during the season was a group of players that really didn't believe in each other," Ainge told reporters on Monday. "Like the whole group, I think they liked each other even more than what was reported, but I'm not sure there was a belief.

"When we got to the playoffs I thought, well this is a team that has had some disappointing playoffs so I thought maybe they're just waiting for the playoffs. I gave them that benefit of the doubt, but it was clear the team didn't perform well in the playoffs again.

"I believe every one of these guys went into every game believing they were going to win, don't get me wrong on that. I'm just saying when adversity hit, the resolve, you could see in a team that has a true belief in having each other's back or one another.

"I think individually they have resolve, but I just don't believe collectively they did. So you see a lot of players trying to do it on their own as the believe in one another wasn't as great as teams I've been on and around that I've seen."

Jazz general manager Justin Zanik claimed that the side's offseason changes, trading out All-Stars Gobert and Mitchell, was about opening up another window to challenge for an NBA title. Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton and Ochai Agbaji all joined the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of the Mitchell trade.

"You have these conversations and there's a return and you start balancing what you can acquire on the market for perennial All-Star players, and we traded two of them this summer, that necessitates us to make a decision for the organisation that is hard," Zanik said.

"We've got really good players, but you have a timeline you want to open up with a maximum window.

"Previous results kind of told us who we were. It wasn't just a one-year thing. This was a good three-year period where we won a lot of games and had a lot of success, but we were tapped out from a potential stand point and we needed to reset that."

The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to pull off arguably the biggest trade of the offseason by landing three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz, according to reports.

Mitchell, 25, was one of the most desirable stars on the market after it became clear the Jazz were entering a rebuild following their trade of three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.

In return, the Jazz will receive three unprotected first-round picks. They include two future first-round pick swaps in guard Collin Sexton and stretch forward Lauri Markkanen, as well as Ochai Agbaji, who was the 14th selection from this year's NBA Draft.

It is a sizeable haul for the Jazz, who also received four future first-round picks, plus three rotation-level players from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Gobert, putting them in one of the most favourable rebuilding situations in the NBA.

For the Cavaliers, the move affirms their position as a true contender in the Eastern Conference for years to come, after emerging from this past season with a long-term core of Darius Garland, Rookie of the Year runner-up Evan Mobley and All-Star centre Jarrett Allen.

Cleveland will have one of the league's strongest six-man rotations when factoring in fifth pick from the 2020 draft Isaac Okoro – who will likely start at small forward – and potential Sixth Man of the Year Caris Levert.

The New York Knicks have reportedly put together a strong trade offer for Donovan Mitchell as the Utah Jazz appear to be going all-in on a rebuild.

Sirens were sounding in Utah about a potential change of direction for the franchise when they opted to trade three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a bevy of future draft picks, while also picking up a first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets for starting wing Royce O'Neale.

The Jazz had been publicly claiming the Gobert move was on its own merits and in no way signified that Mitchell would also be on his way out, although it appears the 25-year-old three-time All-Star has now played his last game for the team.

According to Shams Charania from The Athletic, the Knicks have become the most likely destination for a potential Mitchell trade.

Judging by the return from Gobert, it can be expected that any trade for Mitchell would require at least four first-round draft picks plus at least one promising young player.

The Athletic's report says the Jazz had been gauging interest from a number of teams, but "the Knicks have emerged as the focused destination over the past several days".

Charania added that "both sides have discussed a deal framework in the past 24 hours."

The Knicks will undoubtedly be trying to figure out a way to get a deal done without including key building block R.J. Barrett, with the Jazz reportedly valuing second-year guard Quentin Grimes.

Quin Snyder’s decision on Sunday to abruptly step down as coach of the Utah Jazz took much of the NBA world by surprise.

Especially the franchise's star player.

Donovan Mitchell was reportedly "surprised and disappointed" by Snyder's decision to step away after eight seasons in Utah, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, and has been left "unsettled, unnerved and wondering what it means for the franchise’s future."

The 55-year-old Snyder had led the Jazz to six straight playoff berths, three Northwest Division crowns and the NBA's best record in the 2020-21 season, but the team had not been able to advance past the Western Conference semi-finals.

''Love Quin. I love Quin. Love Quin,'' Mitchell said after the Jazz were ousted in the first round by the Dallas Mavericks in April. ''He's a guy that gave me an opportunity when I first got here and trusted in me, believed in me. He's a guy that I think has had so much talked about and he's been headstrong, he's been steady with it throughout the year.''

Mitchell has been the face of the franchise since his 2017-18 rookie season, earning a third-straight All-Star Game appearance this past season while finishing ninth in the league in scoring at 25.9 points per game.

The 25-year-old signed a five-year maximum contract extension with the Jazz in 2020, and considered his positive relationship with Snyder a significant reason he opted to stay in Salt Lake City.

Mitchell, who is owed $67.5million for the next two seasons, followed by a $37m player option, reportedly respects Snyder's decision for stepping down but is left wondering how the franchise will respond to such a sudden and significant change in leadership.

Snyder is the second-winningest coach in franchise history behind Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan, and since he took over in Utah in 2014-15, only Steve Kerr, Doc Rivers, Mike Budenholzer and Gregg Popovich compiled more wins than Snyder's 372.

Donovan Mitchell said there is no danger of him missing the Utah Jazz's critical Game 6 playoff clash against the Dallas Mavericks despite his hamstring complaint.

Mitchell had to leave Game 5, a match in which he scored a playoff career-low nine points and the Jazz's total of 77 points was their lowest score since November 2018.

Trailing 3-2 in the series, with Game 6 headed back to Utah, the Jazz now face two win-or-go-home fixtures to keep their season alive.

Speaking to the Salt Lake Tribune after his MRI came back negative, Donovan Mitchell left no doubt about his status for the contest.

"I'm good to go," he said. "I'll be ready."

He later spoke to the Dallas Morning News and said "everybody knows and feels" the significance of their next game.

"We don't want this to be the end," he said.

"We've got to go out there and give energy. We have one of the best home court advantages for a reason – I'm pretty sure it will be rocking tomorrow night."

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