On Tuesday Brian Windhorst raised eyebrows around the league when he vaguely alluded to some interesting rumors coming out of Cleveland in regards to what the Cavaliers have planned for this offseason. He did so in a way that brought back memories of last July and even earlier this year with the Bradley Beal trade-- no concrete intel, but strong hints that something is coming.
Unlike previous iterations of the Windy meme it's pretty hard to take a stab at what might happen in Cleveland. The Cavaliers have one of the best cores in the league and everybody is under contract for a few years yet. Donovan Mitchell can become a free agent in 2024-25 with his player option but everyone else is locked down way past that. They had a great showing in the regular season last year that was dampened by a playoff flameout in the first round against the New York Knicks, but the blueprint is pretty obviously in place for the Cavs to be quite good for a long time.
So what on earth could Windhorst be hearing? Well, Darius Garland's name appeared in a trade rumor one day after the above quote.
This would, indeed qualify as outlandish. Garland has his issues on the defensive end but he's only 23 years-old and about to enter the first year of a five-year max extension that will pay him $197 million total. That is pretty pricey but he also averaged 21.6 points and 7.8 assists per game, seamlessly making room for Mitchell in the offense, and hit 41 percent of his threes on six attempts per game. Even if he is small, Garland is a rare breed of point guard who can make it rain from deep (especially in the pull-up game) while conducting the offense and setting up his teammates for easy shots. Not a lot of guys can do all that at the same time-- and he's still five years away from his prime!
If the Cavs really wanted to win right now you can sort of see the vision. Mitchell has more playoff experience and the Evan Mobley /Jarrett Allen duo is not great for spacing but nearly perfect defensively. Sending out Garland for a bigger defensive wing and letting Mitchell take the keys to the offense is plausible. Not smart at all, but plausible.
We'll have to see if this is just rumor-mongering from teams looking to stir it up before free agency starts. But if Windhorst called his shot, for the third time, in the most unlikely situation yet, we will have no choice but to bow and acknowledge his greatness.
UPDATE: It seems that whatever craziness Windy alluded to, Garland and Mitchell are not involved.