3 increasingly bold Darius Garland trade proposals Cavaliers have to consider this summer

Cleveland Cavaliers v Minnesota Timberwolves
Cleveland Cavaliers v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages
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The Cleveland Cavaliers look uncharacteristically poor whenever Donovan Mitchell is not on the court, and that needs to change.

Any team in any sport would look less lethal without their best player available, but the Cavaliers become an entirely different, nearly unwatchable squad whenever Mitchell is not on the hardwood. In the last two seasons, Cleveland's All-Star point guard Darius Garland has been the focal point of the team's ball movement and offensive orchestration. Now, Garland looks lost and rushed on the Cavaliers ever since the team reinvented their offense in the middle of the season.

While Garland has had a handful of great games that remind fans of the electric theatrics he can provide, they have been far too few and far too infrequent. In the games when the Cavaliers play to Garland's strengths, he can put on a performance for the ages. His effortless knack for finding the open shooter or cutter makes forwards and big men shine next to DG, earning the young guard numerous comparisons to past legends such as Steve Nash or Chris Paul.

This year, it has become apparent that the style that makes Cleveland look best is not Garland's best style, unfortunately. Garland can dissect a defense and pick them apart methodically with his passing, finishing and shooting. The Cavaliers, however, need more fluidity with playmaking coming from their bigs and off-ball sets. Garland is an entirely different player in these fast-paced offenses.

While Garland's ability to generate open looks and passing lanes has remained among the best in the Association, his passing efficiency has dipped to the sixth percentile at -0.87, per BBall-Index (subscription required). With the Cavaliers in a position to win now, Garland's inconsistent regression could spell trouble for his long-term fit in Cleveland. As painful as it can be to consider losing a homegrown star, the Cavs might be forced into a position to look at possible major changes this summer if Garland cannot step it up in the postseason.

The Cleveland Cavaliers do not have to trade Darius Garland

A Darius Garland trade is nothing more than conjecture or fantasy right now. The trade deadline has passed, and no team will be able to make a deal for the next few months. If the Cavaliers cannot trade Garland, and they also do not have to do it if he returns to form. As much flack as Garland has earned over the last few weeks, his entire season has been derailed with freak injuries to himself and his teammates. If the Cavaliers can get healthy and find any semblance of rhythm by the playoffs, Darius Garland could prove every doubt surrounding him currently wrong just as fast as it formed.

Without Darius Garland, the Cavaliers would not have been in a position to bring Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland. Garland sparked Cleveland's rise to contention, regardless of a down year. The Cavs' season has had every reason to fall apart since opening night when Jarrett Allen was absent. Instead, they sit third in the Eastern Conference with fewer than a dozen games left in the regular season. While they might not be the leading powerhouse in the East, they are far from a laughing stock.

Where the Cavaliers might have to consider a Garland trade is this offseason if he falls off more in the playoffs. Cleveland has an All-NBA guard with MVP hype quietly rising around him in Donovan Mitchell. He needs a second bonafide star at his side if the Cavs want to make a true contender with him at the helm. Garland is supposed to be that and has all the talent to be a top guy on a championship team. It might just not be the right fit in Cleveland, and this postseason will be the best gauge for the future potential of this backcourt duo.

If the future holds a new home for Garland's talents, Cleveland needs to do right by DG and make sure his destination can give him success for a long time as he develops more. These three proposals could be mutually beneficial for the Cavaliers and Darius Garland.