This offseason is shaping up to be one of the most pivotal in recent Cleveland Cavaliers history. It seems like the franchise is at a crossroads. Donovan Mitchell will be entering the final year of his deal, as it’s a guarantee that he’ll be turning down his player option for the 2025-26 season, questions surrounding the Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley partnership continue to ring loudly, and there’s been a palpable sense of disappointment surrounding Darius Garland.

Even though the Cavs made it to the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time without LeBron James in 31 years, there is an air of frustration around the team. All of this may result in major changes for the team, with, perhaps, only Mobley being the player who’s safe from the trade block.

Even Darius Garland, the 24-year old point guard believed to be one of the future faces of the franchise, could find himself available in a trade after reports of his camp’s frustrations with his diminished role upon Donovan Mitchell’s arrival have made the rounds. Thus, if the Cavs keep Mitchell, Garland could be the one to go. If that, indeed, ends up being the case, some teams have indicated that they might prefer to pursue Garland over Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, via Evan Sidery of Forbes.

That is high praise for Garland, as it’s not like Young is some scrub; for reference, the Hawks star has averaged 26 and 10 for his entire career to this point, numbers that the Cavs guard has not yet reached through his first five seasons in the NBA.

But it’s understandable why other teams would prefer to trade for Garland over Young. The question now is, will anyone be meeting the Cavs’ understandably high asking price?

Darius Garland, a more valuable trade asset than Trae Young?

It might be difficult to process, as Trae Young has put up huge numbers throughout his career, but a few factors contribute to Darius Garland’s bigger appeal as a trade asset. For starters, Garland is one year younger. That may not matter in the grand scheme of things, but the younger asset is usually more valuable in trade talks.

To top it all off, Garland is under contract for four more guaranteed years, starting the 2024-25 season. He has no player option on the final year of his deal. Thus, any team that would be trading for him will have his services until 2028.

On the other hand, any team that will be dealing a ton of assets for Young will only have the Hawks star until 2026, as he has a player option for the 2026-27 season that he’s likely to decline. Young might be a better player than Garland for the next two seasons, but having two more years of Garland on one’s roster makes him that much more valuable, especially when he still has a ton of room to improve after he has played second fiddle to Donovan Mitchell over the past two seasons.

Garland’s star-development trajectory gone mostly stagnant over the past two seasons; his usage rate has gone down over the past two seasons, and his assist rate has gone down with it. Meanwhile, he’s been struggling to get into a rhythm in his second-fiddle role, as his turnover rate has stayed mostly steady even though his touches have declined.

The team that’s trading for Garland will be hoping to bring out the best in him in a lead guard role. But at this point, it’s unclear which team has the assets to swing a trade with the Cavs. Could the San Antonio Spurs perhaps package a few of their picks for Garland? Perhaps the Orlando Magic fancy a backcourt of Garland and Jalen Suggs? Suggs is capable of moving to the two as he’s one of the best defenders in the league.

Whatever the case may be, Garland will bring in a ton of assets for the Cavs. But will it be smart to give up on him just five years into his career just so they could hitch their wagon on Mitchell?

Can the Cavs keep Donovan Mitchell?

It seems like, from the moment Donovan Mitchell arrived in Cleveland, there have been plenty of rumors that he’s angling for a move to a big-market team like the New York Knicks. But Mitchell himself has said that he’s been happy ever since the Cavs traded for him, giving the team hope that they could keep him for the long haul.

Mitchell can sign the best contract he could if he stays with the Cavs, and it’s looking like the team is willing to pull out all the stops to keep him and build a contender around him. And with optimism surrounding a potential extension growing, the Cavs, indeed, could end up making Darius Garland available for trade.