The rumors of a potential Donovan Mitchell departure were loud as soon as the Cleveland Cavaliers traded for him back in 2022, but it seems as though the partnership between Mitchell and the Cavs will be extending beyond next season. According to the rumor mill, the most likely recourse for Mitchell is to sign a huge contract extension with the Cavs that takes him to his 10th year in the association so he could become eligible for a mammoth deal in 2027.

Keeping a player of Mitchell’s caliber on the roster is never a bad thing. Mitchell is a floor-raiser who hasn’t yet missed the playoffs for his career. The Cavs certainly would want to keep him given how many assets they gave up to acquire his services. Nonetheless, there might be an unintended consequence in the event that Mitchell re-ups with the franchise, as it may end up costing them Darius Garland.

“Several league sources independently noted this week that they expect Klutch Sports to prefer a trade for Garland if Mitchell is re-signed,” Matt Moore of Action Network reported.

Klutch Sports has emerged as a powerhouse agency with some major swing in the NBA. While his representatives are only looking out for what’s best for their client, as staying with the Cavs should Donovan Mitchell re-sign means that Darius Garland will continue playing second fiddle, it’s rather unlikely for Cleveland to acquiesce to their preference. After all, Garland is under contract for four more seasons, so there is no urgency for them to deal the former All-Star away.

Moore acknowledged that “rival front offices” may simply be “stirring trouble”, unsettling Garland even further amid a bit of a transition period for the Cavs after the firing of JB Bickerstaff, the coach that helped lead the team to 99 wins over the past two seasons. But it would be very remiss of the Cavs not to wait out and see how the new coach makes the Garland-Mitchell backcourt pairing work.

Cavs believe in their core

Regardless of all the hullabaloo, the Cavs’ belief in their current core remains ardent. Cavs beat reporter Chris Fedor of asserted in the past that it will take a monster offer to pry away any member of their core four, which includes Darius Garland.

Garland is only 24 years of age, and he has been a 21-8 guy in the past. The 2023-24 season did not go according to plan for him as he endured some injury problems as well as some turnover woes, but sharpshooting playmakers of his ilk don’t grow on trees.

Even before Donovan Mitchell arrived in Cleveland, the Cavs were already on an upward trajectory; it’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that, had they retained Lauri Markkanen, they would be in the same boat as they are today, with Garland blossoming into an even bigger star after his strong 2021-22 campaign.

It will hurt Cleveland if they deal away their homegrown All-Star to a team such as the San Antonio Spurs or Orlando Magic and watch Garland blossom as the lead ball-handler for a team that is in dire need of a pull-up, playmaking threat at the point of attack. Imagine Garland running the floor alongside Victor Wembanyama and setting the table for Devin Vassell. Think about Garland orchestrating the Magic offense as he spaces the floor for Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner? Thus, it’s too early for the Cavs to give up on Darius Garland.

The goal for them now is to build a team that complements their core four perfectly. For starters, they need a lockdown 3-and-D wing in the mold of OG Anunoby; Isaac Okoro has made strides on defense, but he has a lot of ground to make up for as a shooter. Max Strus is a great weapon to have as a shooter who can fire on the move, but is he really the answer at the three?

The Cavs can cobble together the salaries of a few of their players, primarily Caris LeVert, to perhaps get another piece who could help push the team forward. They need more size on the wing to compensate for their undersized backcourt, and they need someone who can make plays on the move and come up huge on the defensive end.

It’s unclear which specific player fits that bill. Bruce Brown will be available for trade and could be of help, but he doesn’t have the most size on the wing. De’Andre Hunter has the size, but he is very inconsistent. His huge salary that runs for a few more years will not be the easiest contract to swallow as well.