Hypothetical NBA Trades, Part II: Could Magic Trade Jalen Suggs for Cavs' Garland?

Former All-Star Darius Garland is a reliable scorer and distributor for the Cavaliers. But in an imagined trade, would the Orlando Magic be willing to part with Suggs, their NBA All-Defense shooting guard?
Apr 20, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs (4) defends Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland (10) in the first quarter during game one of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Apr 20, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs (4) defends Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland (10) in the first quarter during game one of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

ORLANDO — The lengths to which the Orlando Magic are willing to go to improve their team will dictate just how different they're going to look next season.

After going 47-35 and coming within a game of advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Magic could be a big trade or free-agent signing away from turning a playoff team into a contender.

In a list of hypothetical summer trades that Bleacher Report acknowledges derive from "out of nowhere," they have the Magic trading guard Jalen Suggs and a 2025 first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for point guard Darius Garland.

"This deal would still leave the Magic with plenty of the defensive talent that made them so good on that end (including Jonathan Isaac, Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner), but it would give them a far better table-setter and outside shooter than they've had at the 1 in years," Bleacher Report writes.

In the spirit of playing along ... Garland would upgrade Orlando's backcourt. The 2021-22 All-Star averaged 18 points and 6.5 assists per game in the regular season and shot 37.1 percent on his 3-point attempts — slightly down from his previous two seasons when he averaged at least 20 points and seven assists per game.

That Garland could be available is not farfetched. Both he and Donovan Mitchell have one year left on their contracts. If Mitchell, a 5-time All-Star, doesn't sign a contract extension, that likely would spell the end of his time in Cleveland. But if he agrees to a long-term deal, rumors suggest that Garland could be on his way out.

Garland, 24, argued played his best without Mitchell this season. He averaging 20 points and 6.9 assists in those games and scored 25 points or more seven times.

That Suggs could be available seems highly unlikely and the thought is tough to stomach. In 2023-24, Suggs flashed the potential that made him the No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. He set career highs in points per game (12.6), shooting percentage (47.1), and 3-point percentage (39.7).

Suggs, 22, also was named to the second team for NBA All-Defense — the first Magic player to be honored since Dwight Howard in 2012. The 6-foot-5 guard had a career-best 110.4 defensive rating, 12th-best among players who played at least 2,000 minutes this season, and was tied for seventh in steals per game with 1.4. Suggs had at least two steals 31 times; Orlando went 20-11 in those games.

Suggs has been touted as one of the heads of the snake on defense, and his impact was evident for a Magic team that was fourth in points allowed per game (108.4) and second in defensive rating (111.3). Any potential deal that includes Suggs could be a nonstarter for Orlando after this season.

That said, the gambling sportsbook Bovada gave Orlando the third-best odds at acquiring Garland.

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Nathaniel Marrero

NATHANIEL MARRERO