Cavaliers Trade Proposal Flips Darius Garland for 2 Lakers Starters

Cavaliers' Darius Garland

Getty Darius Garland #10 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts against the Boston Celtics.

ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks suggested a trade that would help balance the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ roster if Donovan Mitchell extends this offseason and Darius Garland requests a trade.

“If the Cavaliers do make Garland available, one trade that could make sense would be a package centered around the Los Angeles Lakers’ Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura. Reaves’ shooting skills would complement Mitchell, and Hachimura gives the Cavaliers depth in the frontcourt if they look to trade [Jarrett] Allen,” Marks wrote.

Garland and Allen could become the Cavaliers’ biggest trade chips to reshape their roster around Mitchell and Evan Mobley.

On May 15, The Athletic reported that Garland could seek a trade elsewhere should Mitchell sign a four-year, $208.5 million extension this July.

“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,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and Jason Lloyd wrote.

Garland, an All-Star in 2022, before Mitchell’s arrival, averaged 15.7 points, 5.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds in the Cavaliers’ playoff run this season. He regained his All-Star form in two games Mitchell sat out in the second round, averaging 20.5 points, 8.0 assists and 2.0 steals.

But Garland’s huge production was not enough for them to overcome Mitchell and Jarrett Allen’s injuries. They lost in five games to the Boston Celtics, who are the overwhelming favorites (-180) at FanDuel, the daily fantasy sports pioneer, to win the NBA championship.

J.B. Bickerstaff Fired

Despite winning their first playoff series in the second post-LeBron James era, the Cavaliers still fired coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

The Athletic reported that Bickerstaff had lost the confidence of his players, especially Mitchell, whose future in Cleveland is in question with his looming extension.

According to Lloyd, Bickerstaff has lost the Cavaliers’ locker room.

“I heard complaints that Bickerstaff was too hands-on, that he wanted to be in control of everything at practices and shootarounds. Players grumbled about playing time, either too much or too little. Again, all fairly ordinary and pedantic. The most damning criticism, and one that sticks, is the second-half fade most of his teams here experienced. Injuries can be blamed for part of it, but he has to wear that one,” Lloyd wrote on May 23.

Charania listed Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson and New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego as the initial candidates to replace Bickerstaff.

Donovan Mitchell ‘Happy’ in Cleveland

Before Bickerstaff’s firing, Mitchell came out in the open to refute reports that he was frustrated with his teammates.

He later doubled down on an interview with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski

On Thursday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski appeared on an episode of NBA Countdown and revealed that he spoke with Mitchell himself who told him that he has been happy since he arrived in Cleveland and that they will talk to the Cavaliers about their future when the time is right this summer:

“I reached out to Donovan Mitchell today,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown on May 16. “And he was emphatic in telling me that he is not disgruntled with anyone or anything in Cleveland. In fact, he said to me, ‘I am happy in Cleveland. I’ve been happy since I arrived in Cleveland.’ He thinks this Cavs team made progress this season.

Obviously, winning that best-of-seven first-round series against the Magic to get to the Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2018. But as he said, he’s not in this to go to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs… Donovan Mitchell knows the question that is coming for him now in this offseason about his future in Cleveland. He said to me, ‘I know I’ve got a decision to make this offseason. My agent and I will talk to Cleveland about that at the right time.’ He emphasized, ‘I’m not leaving this season unhappy. I’m leaving it more determined.’”