Community Shootaround: Cavaliers’ Offseason

This year’s Cavaliers became the first Cavs team in over three decades to make the second round of the playoffs without LeBron James on its roster. But as successful as the season was in Cleveland, there’s a sense that major changes could be around the corner.

The Cavs will have to make a decision on head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, whose future with the club is said to be in “serious jeopardy.”

They’ll have to figure out whether or not Donovan Mitchell will sign a long-term extension as he enters a contract year.

If Mitchell is unwilling to extend, he could very well end up in the trade block, whereas if he does re-up with the Cavs, it may be Darius Garland who becomes the offseason trade candidate.

Cleveland will also have to decide on whether Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley can coexist in the frontcourt going forward as Mobley becomes eligible for a rookie scale extension.

There has been speculation for months – or even years – that Mitchell won’t want to commit to a long-term future in Cleveland and will ultimately have to be traded, but that’s far from a sure thing. In fact, one report following the Cavs’ elimination from the postseason this week suggested there’s a “growing sentiment” Mitchell will sign an extension.

Still, in the latest episode ESPN’s Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link), Brian Windhorst advised listeners not to assume Mitchell has finalized a decision one way or the other yet.

“I hope to be very careful to not make too much into what the secondary chatter is about what Donovan’s going to do,” Windhorst said. “Because I have heard stuff – from what I would consider reliable sources – all over the board, which leads me to believe that the accurate answer or real answer may not be out there, and that Donovan is doing a great job of keeping everybody in a happy place.

“I will say this, the Cavs organization feels very optimistic he’s going to sign, and maybe that’s the way it’s going to go — I’m not here saying that it won’t. But there’s other people out there saying the opposite.”

Regardless of what happens with Mitchell, Windhorst and his ESPN colleagues Tim MacMahon and Tim Bontemps agreed during their discussion of the Cavs’ offseason that it probably doesn’t make sense to move forward with the team’s four core players, given the overlap between Mitchell’s and Garland’s skill sets, as well as Allen’s and Mobley’s.

While Mitchell will be the focus of the summer in Cleveland for many fans, the frontcourt issue looms large. Mobley had a solid series vs. Boston in the second round of the playoffs with Allen sidelined, and Allen was at his best earlier in the season when Mobley was on the shelf recovering from knee surgery. If the Cavs have to choose one of the two, it seems likely to be Mobley, who is younger, probably has a higher ceiling, and will be under team control for longer if he signs an extension this offseason.

“I would just say that while there’s extreme interest and excitement probably from certain fanbases to go to the trade machine and work out Donovan Mitchell trades, and maybe those will be needed in a month, we’ll see,” Windhorst said. “I would think the Cavs are going to be spending more time in this next month looking at possible Jarrett Allen trades, and what that could bring.”

As Bontemps observed in the Hoop Collective podcast, the Cavs seem unlikely to completely tear things down this offseason. Even if Mitchell doesn’t agree to an extension and ends up being traded, there’s still too much talent on the roster to bottom out, so in any trade discussions, the team would likely seek players who could step in and make an impact right away — or draft assets that could be flipped to acquire those sorts of players.

If the Cavs end up looking to move Allen and/or Garland, one obvious potential trade partner would be the Pelicans, who have been linked to Allen several times in the past and also have a need at point guard. A deal involving rumored trade candidate Brandon Ingram could be the sort of move that would better balance both rosters.

We want to know what you think. Does Bickerstaff need to go or has he earned another year at the helm in Cleveland? Will Mitchell sign an extension? If he doesn’t, what kind of trade should Cleveland be seeking? If he does, will Garland have to go? And what about the frontcourt? Should Allen be on the trade block this summer?

Head to the comment section to weigh in with your thoughts and predictions!

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