The Cleveland Cavaliers’ difficult start to the season reportedly could be piquing the interest of other NBA teams who might be eyeing Darius Garland or possibly even Donovan Mitchell in a trade.
Garland reportedly already has drawn the interest of the Chicago Bulls as they look to find a trade partner willing to take Zach LaVine.
“Chicago has also attempted swapping LaVine for other All-Star players, such as pitching Cleveland on the concept of acquiring Darius Garland from the Cavaliers, sources said,” wrote Jake Fischer.
The 23-year-old has popped up in trade rumors dating back to this offseason, but the Cavaliers have shown no interest in dealing the former All-Star so far.
But with the Cavs plodding along barely above .500 at 13-12 so far this season, the Bulls and others may be thinking this is a good time to seize an opportunity.
“Teams are calling to find other impact players that could change the landscape of their rosters,” wrote Fischer. “At this juncture, that does not appear to be Donovan Mitchell, the All-NBA Cavaliers guard, despite rival teams’ mounting interest amid Cleveland’s mediocre start to this 2023-24 campaign following an expensive free agency.”
Other NBA teams having interest in Mitchell should come as no surprise. The 27-year-old’s future in Cleveland will remain in doubt until he either signs a contract extension to stay or winds up elsewhere. With the Cavs struggling in the days leading up to Christmas, teams might be thinking Cleveland could soon be willing to make a significant move.
Mitchell also is becoming more outspoken about his team’s disappointing play. Following a loss to the Boston Celtics on Thursday that pushed the Cavs’ losing streak to three games, the All-Star said they “gotta pick this s— up.”
The Cavs’ backcourt seemed to mesh very well last season — Mitchell’s first with Cleveland – as the team won 51 regular season games and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2018. But questions about the chemistry between Garland and Mitchell have been raised, despite the players themselves seeming to show a bond.
The Cavs were expected to improve and become bigger threats in the Eastern Conference after spending to acquire Max Strus and Georges Niang in the summer. But the desired results have not followed, though injuries to Garland, Mitchell, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen can be blamed. Each has missed at least four games.
LaVine himself is currently sidelined with foot soreness, so he wouldn’t be able to turn around the Cavs’ fortunes immediately. But it seems that teams around the league are thinking a shake-up could be coming in Cleveland and will be doing what they can if its high-level talent becomes available.