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East All-Star’s Agent Addresses Trade Request Rumors

Cleveland Cavaliers guards Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland walk down the court talking

Following the Cleveland Cavaliers elimination from the 2024 NBA Playoffs, several problems that had remained hidden from the public eye began to surface.

Their now former head coach had long been on the hot seat, with Cavs general manager Koby Altman laying into him in mid-December. News of the incident spread throughout the organization, even seeping into the locker room. Donovan Mitchell was particularly bothered by J.B. Bickerstaff’s approach. However, his teammates also openly questioned him.

Mitchell, who will discuss a contract extension with Cleveland down the line, was acquired by the Cavs two years ago. With the Utah Jazz opting for a rebuild, the explosive guard took a flight to Northeast Ohio, where he would star alongside Darius Garland.

However, while the two have been friendly, it appears that Garland now wants to end that partnership. While the rumors haven’t quite been confirmed, if Mitchell decides to stay in Cleveland, he’ll leave instead.

Rich Paul Addresses Darius Garland Trade Request Rumors

In a wide-ranging interview with Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul addressed the recent rumors that his client would seek a trade if Mitchell reached a contract extension with the Cavs. As usual, the longtime superagent was calculated in his response. Political, even.

“There is not much to say,” Paul says. “I think people have their own opinions of what works and what doesn’t work. For me, I think people around the league know… I’m very matter of fact with my approach on everything. If there was something to be discussed, I would discuss it.

“As of now, there’s nothing to discuss on that,” he reiterates. “My job is to evaluate every situation… It’s a lot more to it than just negotiating a contract after four years….”

While extensive, his response was ambiguous, leaving Garland’s future with the Cavs up in the air. As Paul continued speaking though, the motivations for a potential Garland trade became clear.

“You try to position guys a certain way to continue to have value,” Paul explains. “… The league is one that is fluid. It doesn’t stop for nobody. It continues to move on.”

“…Having the talent they have, and the production, allows them to maintain value,” he concludes, as he continues to key in on the underlying reasons behind Garland’s rumored ultimatum. “That value transitions into compensation… Sometimes you have to protect that for as long as you can.”

Forward-Thinking Floor General

With those words, it seems as if Garland is of the mind that his growth or production could be stunted if Mitchell remains in The Land. As Garland averaged 16.9 points and 6.3 assists alongside the five-time All-Star in 2023-24, his concerns may be valid. In the season prior to Cleveland acquiring Mitchell, he averaged career-highs of 21.7 points and 8.6 assists per game, earning an All-Star berth.

Garland’s star power, which indirectly affects voting for NBA awards and all-league honors, could also take a hit. Mitchell has overtaken Garland as the face of the Cavs’ franchise, leading to the former fifth overall pick playing in his shadow.

All of this could also have an impact on his next contract. Though he’s under contract through 2028, at 24-years-old, his next deal should be his best one. He’ll be in the theoretical prime of his career, when his athletic ability, basketball IQ and skill should all be peaking. If he’s teamed up with Mitchell that whole time, his next contract may look far different than if he was the best player in the backcourt.

There doesn’t seem to be any personal problem between Garland and Mitchell. The young floor general is just forward-thinking.


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