Darius Garland has agreed to a five-year, $193 million maximum extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers, CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter confirmed on Saturday. Garland’s deal, which could rise to $231 million if he makes an All-NBA team next season, stands as the biggest contract in Cavaliers franchise history.
The No. 5 overall pick in 2019, Garland is coming off the best season of his career, as he averaged 21.7 points, 8.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game, while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from 3-point land. He also made the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, becoming the first Cavalier to make an appearance since LeBron James and Kevin Love in 2018.
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With Garland leading the way, the emergence of Jarrett Allen and the addition of rookie big man Evan Mobley, the Cavaliers made a stunning leap last season, finishing 44-38. In addition to winning more games than the previous two seasons combined, they finished above .500 for the first time since LeBron James’ final season with the club.
In most seasons, that would have been enough for a playoff appearance, but the Cavaliers couldn’t get it done. They were beset by injuries in the second half, and stumbled to a 9-15 close after the All-Star break. Forced to go through the play-in tournament, they lost to the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, and then blew a 14-point lead to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round.
But despite the disappointing end to the season, it’s clear the Cavaliers are a team on the rise. Outside of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio — who suffered a torn ACL last season and was traded to the Indiana Pacers, but is expected to return to Cleveland in free agency — every rotation player is under 30 years old, and most of them are under 25.
The future in Cleveland is bright, especially now that Garland is guaranteed to be a part of it.