5 Cavaliers Who Won't Return After Playoff Exit

Five members of the Cleveland Cavaliers whom fans shouldn't expect to be back following the team's exit from the 2024 NBA Playoffs.
May 15, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland (10) drives the
May 15, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland (10) drives the / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cleveland Cavaliers' up-and-down season finally came to an end on Wednesday, as J.B. Bickerstaff's squad was bounced in Game 5 of the conference semifinals by the Boston Celtics.

Injury struggles certainly played a role in Cleveland's demise, but the roster's construction is also to blame, and the latter is an issue the front office must address this offseason if it's to keep Donovan Mitchell long-term.

With that in mind, here are five members of the Cavaliers who seem primed to head elsewhere this summer.

1. Darius Garland

Following a second straight early exit from the playoffs, it's clear the Cavs need to change some things up if they're to fulfill their championship potential.

The backcourt is one obvious area that needs an overhaul. The pairing of Mitchell and Darius Garland simply hasn't worked out for the team's greater good since the former's arrival.

Offensively, their skill sets and preferences for being ball-dominant overlap too much, which has led to decreased production for Garland since the trade for Mitchell. Meanwhile, their undersized natures limits Cleveland defensively in a league that prioritizes size and range on that side of the ball.

So one likely needs to go if the Cavs are going to build a more well-rounded roster. Mitchell would be the no-brainer choice if he shows no desire to re-sign, but those tides could be changing. That puts Garland squarely on the chopping block then.

Garland isn't at Mitchell's truly elite level, but he's absolutely talented in his own right. He broke out right before Mitchell came to town, earning his first All-Star nod and placing third in Most Improved Player voting during the 2021-22 season after posting averages of 21.7 points, 8.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds.

He's failed to hit those highs since with Mitchell taking over as the No. 1 option, but Cleveland could easily sell teams on Garland bouncing back in a backcourt that doesn't have a clear alpha. The latest reporting even indicates the former All-Star's agent would possibly explore a move if Mitchell decides to stay, so the seeds for a departure have already been planted.

Trading Garland would bring back some nice assets to fill out the lineup while allowing Mitchell even freer reign to run this offense, which could help the Cavs hit new heights.