Grade the Trade: Minnesota acquires point guard of the future in mock deal

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
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Timberwolves acquire star point guard from Cavaliers

In this trade, the Wolves add Cleveland point guard Darius Garland. The Cavaliers would receive Jaden McDaniels, Mike Conley, Josh Minott, and a 2024 second-round pick in exchange for Garland's services.

Garland Trade

Garland has seen a vast improvement since his so-so rookie year. But of course, Garland's rookie season was always supposed to be an uphill battle after he only appeared in five games for Vanderbilt.

Thus far, the 24-year-old guard has averaged 18.4 points, 6.7 assists, and 2.2 triples per game in his career. His best season came 2021-22 where he averaged 21.7 points and 8.6 assists per game while making his only All-Star appearance.

A seismic shift occurred in 2022 when Cleveland acquired five-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz. Since Mitchell's arrival, Garland has become somewhat expendable. No matter who plays in the frontcourt, a backcourt consisting of a 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-3 guard will have trouble defensively.

The breakup seems to be in full effect after a second-round exit. In exchange for Garland, the Cavs will likely prioritize a bigger guard or a two-way wing. In the hypothetical trade, the Wolves part with two key contributors: McDaniels and Conley.

The centerpiece for Cleveland is the former. McDaniels is a 6-foot-9 rangy wing who's an excellent defender. At 23 years old, McDaniels is continuously improving on the offensive end. He's averaging 11.3 points while canning 48.3 percent of his field goals this postseason.

Conley isn't just a salary filler in the trade. Despite his age, he remains a valuable asset both offensively and defensively. Plus, the veteran point guard spent three seasons alongside Mitchell. Finally, Minott is essential to match Garland's salary. The 21-year-old wing makes for a worthy flier for Cleveland.