Report: Darius Garland’s Reps Would Discuss A Trade With The Cavs If Donovan Mitchell Stays

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The Cleveland Cavaliers will begin their offseason on Thursday after losing in five games to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. While Cleveland did win their first playoff series without LeBron James in over 30 years, it’s hard to categorize the season as a major success. This was a team that expected to be a legitimate threat in the East, but instead appeared to stall out after a rapid ascent a year ago.

Their core group of Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen all missed time this season, with Allen and Mitchell watching in street clothes to close out their second round series. On the rare occasion they were all together, they never established a real rhythm together, with their backcourt stars especially struggling to be at their best at the same time.

A lot of the power lies in the hands of Donovan Mitchell, who can dictate how the Cavs approach their future. Mitchell is extension eligible, but has not firmly indicated he’ll sign on long-term in Cleveland. The All-Star guard has never gotten a chance at exploring free agency, and might prefer the opportunity to see what opportunities are out there for him. Cleveland is acutely aware of the risk that comes with a top star hitting free agency and walking for nothing, and if Mitchell won’t sign this summer, many expect the Cavs to look to trade him with plenty of interested suitors.

The other option is Mitchell does sign an extension, but even if that happens the Cavs won’t be free of trade rumors. According to The Athletic, Darius Garland’s representation at Klutch Sports, led by Rich Paul, would have discussions with the Cavs about exploring trade options to get him into a different situation.

Furthermore, rival executives believe the Cavs will have to seriously evaluate the fit of Mitchell and Garland and ultimately may have to choose one or the other. Should Mitchell decide to stay long term, sources briefed on the matter say Garland’s representation, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, would have a conversation with Cavs officials on potentially finding a new home for the one-time All-Star.

It certainly sounds like the Cavs will be deciding between Mitchell and Garland this summer, although it might be more accurate to say Mitchell will make that choice for them. A max extension is firmly on the table for Mitchell, and it’s up to him whether he accepts it or not. If he does, Garland would be available and with many teams looking for point guard help this summer, he’d likely have plenty of suitors, even coming off of a down year.

The issues don’t appear to be personal between the two guards, as evidenced by Mitchell’s pep talk to Garland during Game 7 against the Magic. The issue is in fit on the court, Garland has never quite found his place alongside Donovan, especially in the playoffs where he’s struggled to make the kind of impact Cleveland has needed from him. However, Mitchell’s absence late in the Boston series didn’t suddenly pull Garland back out of his shell, and he’ll need to prove he can get back to the All-Star level he achieved in 2021-22 before Mitchell arrived. Whether he gets to prove that in Cleveland or somewhere else will get sorted out this summer.

 


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