Darius Garland signs richest contract in Cleveland Cavaliers history but he hasn’t proven to be worth it just yet

The Cleveland Cavaliers signed Darius Garland to the richest contract in franchise history.

The Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to a massive contract extension for Darius Garland, locking in the 22-year-old point guard for years to come but at a massive number. The deal is for five years, which means he’ll be in Cleveland for at least the next six seasons assuming the Cavs don’t trade him between now and then.

His cap figure is going to go up massively, as he’ll start getting paid $31 million in 2023-2024. The deal is for a guaranteed minimum of $193 million but could be worth upwards of $231 million assuming certain conditions of his contract are made. Presumably, these are All-Star appearances, post-season awards, playoff successes, etc.

Garland had a good 2021-2022, making the All-Star game, and leading the Cavaliers to a winning season but that doesn’t mean that this contract doesn’t come without its concerns, and there are concerns. Whenever you give someone $30-$40 million per year, there are always concerns.

Darius Garland’s contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers isn’t unearned but possibly premature

When you’re paying someone nearly $40 million per year as the Cavs will be with Garland in a season or two, you want to make sure that guy is a perennial All-Star, who can lead you to the playoffs and have performances that show you that he’s among the best in the league.

Garland is on his way to that level, yes, absolutely, but I’d be surprised if most people assumed Garland was an elite point guard just yet. I don’t think he is, elite talent all have something in common regardless of position and that’s consistency.

Right now, Garland has had a really bad year, a medical year, and a good-to-great year. That’s very inconsistent. He’s trending in the right direction, yes, but you still can’t tell me for sure that he’s going to be even better in year four. We just don’t know that he’s going to be better than he was in 2021-2022.

That’s the concern. If Garland doesn’t play better over the next five years than he did in 2021-2022, then this Cavs team is going to be paying a very mediocre player elite-level money.

The hope, obviously, is that Garland just continues to improve, and obviously, that’s the expectation. Still, I think most of us would have preferred Garland get a massive contract like this after another year of playing at this current level.