Report: Cleveland Cavaliers take All-Star guard off the trade market

New reports suggest the Cleveland Cavaliers will not part ways with Darius Garland this summer.
Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four
Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

When the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics last month, rumors ran rampant about whether the Cavs would keep their current core of Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.

It was reported that Garland and his representation specifically would request a trade on his behalf if Mitchell signed a long term extension with Cleveland.

The fit between Garland and Mitchell has always been a topic of conversation, due to the fact that they are two smaller guards that are both ball dominant. They are not the only players on the roster whose fit is being talked about, as the rumors regarding the fit between Mobley and Allen are still up in the air.

However, in his end of season press conference, President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman said that he saw "no reason" for the team to break up their backcourt and that they needed more time to grow together. It turns out that those comments have affected the trade market for Garland around the league.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on ESPN Cleveland that the sense around the league now is that Garland is not available for trade and that the Cavaliers will look to keep him for the long run, even though he had a very inconsistent season that ended with a four-of-17 shooting in Game 5 against Boston to end the season.

This is not all that surprising given Altman’s comments at the end of the season, but also Garland just signed a long term extension two summers ago, a contract that is currently the largest in franchise history. Garland is also coming off of a down season that saw him turn in his lowest points per game average, assists, and three-point percentage since his second year in the league. His trade value was not likely to be that high anyways.

Granted, Garland dealt with injuries this past season from a nagging hamstring injury at the beginning of the season to a broken jaw that cost him two months and 15 pounds. He never really rediscovered his rhythm after that and was very inconsistent as a result. 

Cleveland's backcourt fit

His fit with Mitchell though has been a positive according to most metrics. The duo posted a +8.0 net rating on the court together in their first year together. Garland arguably had the best season of his career, as he shot a career high from three-point range and was the only player in the league to average 20+ points and 7+ assists per game while shooting 40 percent from three.

The net rating went down slightly this past season, as Mitchell and Garland posted a +4.4 net rating together, but Garland was not nearly the same player he was the prior year due to his injuries and personal issues.

Garland and Mitchell have proven that their fit is not the problem in Cleveland's roster. They may be similar in size, but their playstyles are different. Garland’s playmaking ability and shooting keeps the defense on their toes, which allows for Mitchell to slice and dice his way through the defense with his slashing and off-the-bounce game. Yes, the Cavs went 9-1 without Garland, and Mitchell looked great as the lead point guard, but is that sample size sustainable?

Lastly, with Pelicans assistant coach James Borrego looking like the favorite for the Cavs coaching job, it makes sense that the team wants to keep Garland and Mitchell together. Given Borrego’s work with LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier as the Charlotte coach, Borrego could unlock the backcourt's potential on offense. Rozier had some of his best seasons statistically with Borrego, same with Ball. That should be something Cleveland can look at and say that their backcourt can work.

The bottom line is that the Cavs keeping Garland makes the most sense for the franchise moving forward. His staying might even further entice Mitchell to re-sign long term, given the friendship the two of them have. This news from Windhorst is a positive for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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