CLEVELAND (WJW) — Now that new Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell has arrived in town (as seen in the video above), he officially spoke to the press for the first time at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Wednesday afternoon.

Turns out the recently-traded 26-year-old who grew up in New York has been a fan of the Cavs for a long time.

“I had a Cavs jersey when I was 5,” he told reporters. “I was a LeBron fan but I also liked the Cavs. I love playing in this arena. Crazy how life has come full circle.”

Mitchell is a three-time all-star, and with him on the team expectations are high for the season ahead, after the Cavs just missed a playoff berth last year. And while Mitchell was able to bat down questions of whether the team would make the finals this year, it’s clear he thinks there’s so much potential with this team.

“We’re young and we’re hungry, which is kind of weird to say as I’m one of the oldest in the group,” Mitchell said.

Donovan was traded to the team earlier this month in a deal that sent guard Collin Sexton, forward Lauri Markkanen and rookie guard Ochai Agbaji to Utah along with draft pick options. And he admitted he was a little surprised by the result, thinking he may have ended up back home. But he said already, he’s felt the love of the fans all over and he’s ready to work here in Cleveland.

“I love the cold, that’s not a problem,” Donovan said. “To be honest, I think I dress better in the cold. To me, it’s not about the market size for me it’s about winning games.”

He’s also pleased to be back working with Ricky Rubio, who played with him for a time in Utah.

“That’s my guy, man. I call him Jesus,” Mitchell said. “He’s the guy who really helped me lock in on the little details … to be back here with him, he’s a little bit older now … but to be back with him is extremely special.”

The Cavs’ first game is Oct. 19 against the Toronto Raptors.

Watch the full interview right here.

***

LIVE BLOG:

  • The man of the hour is being introduced along with President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman and Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
  • “You’re more than just a basketball player, you stand for something … we can’t wait to align with you,” Altman said.
  • “I appreciate the warm welcome,” Mitchell said.
  • He says he was golfing when he first found out about the trade to the Cavs.
  • “We’re young and we’re hungry, which is kind of weird to say as I’m one of the oldest in the group,” Mitchell said.
  • “First off, we’re a fun group,” Donovan said. “I’ve been here a few times outside of just playing but I’m excited to see a bunch of Browns and Guardians games. And just to receive the love.”
  • “We’re still super young,” Altman admitted. “But when you talk about adding Donovan … it’s an exciting group.”
  • There’s a real runway to get better together, Altman said. He made clear he’s not putting all the pressure on his team to go to the championships.
  • “When I found out who was on the team, I was like, man,” Donovan said.
  • Mitchell admits he thought he was going home when the Knicks nearly traded for him but was excited to find out he was coming to Cavaliers knowing who was on the roster: “Couldn’t be happier to be here”.
  • He admitted it would have been nice to be near his mom.
  • “I had a Cavs jersey when I was 5. I was a LeBron fan but I also liked the Cavs. I love playing in this arena. Crazy how life has come full circle,” he said.
  • On Ricky Rubio: “That’s my guy, man. I call him Jesus. He’s the guy who really helped me lock in on the little details … to be back here with him, he’s a little bit older now, but to be back with him is extremely special.”
  • “I love the cold, that’s not a problem,” Donovan said. “To be honest, I think I dress better in the cold. To me it’s not about the market size for me it’s about winning games.”
  • “There’s a lot to take in from the losses,” Donovan said, when asked about last year’s season and how to build on that and how to build championship habits.
  • How does a New York kid become a Cleveland fan? “LeBron James,” Donovan said. “The love and support you get from the fans is unreal.”
  • Handle expectations? “It starts with my work. I have to go in the gym and be the best Donovan I can be.”
  • “Never too high, never too low.”