Grade the Trade: New proposal adds Cavaliers guard to Lakers core next to LeBron James

Darius Garland could be on the move this offseason. Are the Los Angeles Lakers a potential landing spot for him?
Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers
Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages
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Shortly after the Cleveland Cavaliers 2023-2024 season ended, news broke that Darius Garland's agent, Rich Paul would meet with the Cavaliers to work out a trade if Donovan Mitchell signs an extension with the Cavaliers.

It was a shock to the Cavaliers community - during the whole season fans were concerned on whether or not Donovan Mitchell would want to come back to Cleveland and sign an extension with this organization. There was not a concern from the fanbase that the Cavaliers 2019 first round draft pick, Darius Garland was unhappy and would be the one seeking a change of scenery.

The potential trade request makes a lot of sense. Darius had his breakout during the 2021-2022 season, the year before Donovan Mitchell arrived in Cleveland. Garland played the best basketball of his career in that season when he was the Cavaliers number one offensive option. His production was at an all-time high specifically after Collin Sexton was injured for the season. Post All-Star break, Garland averaged 24.8 points and 10 assists per game on 39 percent three-point shooting. Those are All-NBA statistics.

His performance that year caught the eye of NBA fans everywhere, as he was named an NBA All-Star at the young age of 22 years old. He has not made the All-Star game since that appearance in the two seasons he has played alongside Mitchell. NBA players have a lot of contract money on the line that is largely determined by statistics and accolades. It is very reasonable for Darius Garland to look for a new franchise to play for if Mitchell decides to remain a Cavalier. Garland and his agent should fully believe that there are better situations out there where Garland could have a more productive fit and still compete at a high level.

Why the Lakers should trade for Darius Garland

LeBron James will turn 40 years old this season, and if he remains a Los Angeles Laker, he is always looking for ways to improve his team's chances at winning now. LeBron has proven in his past that he will not hesitate to approve roster changes if he feels it creates a better chance to win right away.

Darius Garland would be a great fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Garland would be effective running the pick-and-roll with the long and athletic, Anthony Davis. Garland was very efficient running that action next to Jarrett Allen, and playing with Davis could really improve Garland's production.

As for the fit next to LeBron James, a guard that can create offense as a ball handler as well as hit shots from the outside is exactly what he needs. LeBron likes to have another primary ball handler to create offense during the long regular seasons, but also be able to hit the open shot when LeBron is drawing attention on his drives. NBA fans still pine over the days of LeBron and Kyrie playing together, and Garland could be a lower-level version of that.

Another interesting caveat is that LeBron James and Darius Garland have the same agent, Rich Paul. The last time LeBron decided to team up with a young superstar was Anthony Davis in the summer of 2019, and you guessed it - Anthony Davis' agent is also Rich Paul. If D'Angelo Russell decides to decline his player option this offseason, the Lakers could certainly be looking to be a trade partner for Darius Garland, if he becomes available.