Cavs Notes: Mitchell, Bickerstaff, Offseason, Gilbert

It flew under the radar, but the Cavaliers‘ 2023/24 season was filled with turmoil for a variety of reasons, according to Chris Fedor of (subscription required).

There was a lot,” playoff-tested swingman Max Strus said. “A long year. A very long year.”

In addition to confirming the uncertain nature of head coach J.B. Bickerstaff‘s future with the team and some internal frustration toward Jarrett Allen‘s injury, Fedor is another reporter who has heard “whispers” that the relationship between Bickerstaff and star guard Donovan Mitchell has deteriorated.

According to Fedor’s sources, while Mitchell has repeatedly stated he’s happy in Cleveland, there were also times “he grew frustrated with some teammates’ lack of maturity, focus, playoff-level readiness and a willingness to listen.” Mitchell strongly pushed back on that reporting (Twitter link), writing, “Yeah aight (cap emoji) I’m sick of y’all sometimes!”

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • For his part, Bickerstaff said he “definitely” wants to return as Cleveland’s head coach, Fedor adds. “I consider this season an improvement,” Bickerstaff said. “To win a round in the playoffs isn’t easy. I thought we faced a tough challenge in that first round, obviously, and to be able to go to seven games and win it showed a ton of growth. I think the play of our guys continued to show their growth. You guys will judge what success looks like. I think we accomplished what we were trying to accomplish but coming up short of a goal of obviously winning a championship.”
  • Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic have more details on what went wrong for Bickerstaff the past couple seasons, with players openly griping about his offense after their first-round embarrassment last year. Players also questioned Bickerstaff’s lackadaisical and unstructured practices and shootarounds. The organization was also confused by Bickerstaff’s comments ahead of Game 2 against Boston, in which he praised the Celtics while simultaneously making it seem like the Cavs didn’t stack up, per The Athletic.
  • Mark Deeks of HoopsHype and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) preview a critical offseason for Cleveland, which could have several big changes even if the team is able to convince Mitchell to sign an extension. Marks also provided a video with some highlights from his full article (YouTube link). In addition to Mitchell, Evan Mobley, Isaac Okoro and Allen will all be eligible for extensions this summer, Marks observes.
  • After the shorthanded Cavaliers were eliminated on Wednesday, owner Dan Gilbert took to Twitter to express pride in the team’s season, Fedor writes for “Cleveland, it’s heartbreaking, but I am proud of the fight and the progress of this team,” Gilbert wrote. “Thanks to all Cavs fans and supporters who were there all season for us. The future is bright in The Land!
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