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September 24, 2021 | 10:17 am EDT Update

Darius Garland: 'Our expectations are to make the playoffs'

Have you guys talked about the playoffs as a goal for this team going into the new year? What are the expectations for the Cavaliers in that locker room? Darius Garland: In our locker room, our expectations are to make the playoffs. The league is very balanced this year, so itโ€™s going to be tough, but I think weโ€™ve got the guys and the mindset to do it.
Where do you feel you rank among the rest of the NBA point guards right now? Darius Garland: In my opinion, I think Iโ€™m up there for sure. I think last year I really solidified myself, and I think this year I have a lot to learn. Iโ€™m coming back for more this year, especially having the target on my back of these executives that are saying Iโ€™ll be the breakout player of the year. A lot of people are going to be coming at me and trying to see what I can do. Iโ€™m just coming in and trying to be aggressive, trying to play the game the right way, and trying to get wins.
What are your long-term goals looking ahead? Darius Garland: Team goals are winning championships and getting as many wins as we can. I want to be an All-Star, be the best I can be, and be one of the best players to ever play this game. Thatโ€™s always been my goal since I picked up a basketball. I always wanted to be the best version of me. I want to be known around the league. I want to have my kidsโ€™ friends talk about remembering Darius Garland. A lot of All-Star appearances would be amazing. Hall of Fame.
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Storyline: Overtime Elite League
September 24, 2021 | 10:00 am EDT Update
Hartโ€™s contract seems built to trade and we have another logjam of capable guards this year. Do you foresee any moves once the season starts to try and swap a guard or two for forward help? โ€” Nicholas S. The Hart contract was a smart move by New Orleans to create maximum flexibility moving forward. They can use his deal as a way to extract assets from a team looking to open up cap space in the future, or they can get rid of his contract themselves to open up additional space. While I expect New Orleans to be active on the trade market, especially if they get off to a slow start, Iโ€™d look to the backcourt as an area theyโ€™re more likely to address than the forward position.
Either way, I do think there will be quality guards available later in the season. We see it every year at the trade deadline. I think New Orleans would prefer to see Graham exceed expectations and someone like Alexander-Walker, Murphy or Marshall have a breakout season to make the backcourt look better than it does going into the season. Even if that is true, the Pels will need to add a third star to this roster at some point down the road to give Zion and Ingram a real shot at competing in the West. The most realistic path for that is acquiring one of the next disgruntled guards to hit the trade market. Maybe itโ€™ll happen as early as this season. You never know when the next upset superstar will pop up out of nowhere.