Dan Geriot

Cavaliers Notes: Mitchell, Offseason Moves, Coaching Changes

What are the Cavaliers getting in newly-acquired star Donovan Mitchell? Cavs beat writer Kelsey Russo recently spoke to Jazz beat writer Tony Jones about that topic in an article for The Athletic.

Jones expects Mitchell’s efficiency to improve playing alongside a talented core of Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, and he believes his off-court fit will be seamless. Mitchell is an excellent three-level scorer and strong ball-handler who is able to manipulate defenses at a high level, Jones writes.

According to Jones, having less of an offensive burden should help Mitchell on the defensive end, where he’s been a net negative and “needs to get better and more competitive.” Jones also states that Mitchell has been working hard this offseason to get in better shape, which played a factor in his poor defense in the playoffs against Dallas last season.

Russo mentions the fact that Mitchell has extensive playoff experience, which Cleveland’s roster lacks. Jones notes that Mitchell’s ability to blow past defenders off the dribble is extremely valuable in the postseason, and he’s had some memorable performances against elite competition.

Here’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavs rose to No. 8 in David Aldridge of The Athletic‘s re-ranking of offseason moves that improved teams the most. According to Aldridge, the Cavaliers took a big swing, but it could create a window of contention that the team hasn’t had without LeBron James in a couple of decades.
  • Sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link) that the Cavs will be making a couple of changes to their coaching staff for 2022/23. Mike Gerrity, formerly a player development coach with the Cavs, will become the new head coach of their G League affiliate, the Cleveland Charge, while former Charge head coach Dan Geriot is heading back to the Cavs as an assistant. The Charge confirmed that Gerrity will be their new head coach in a press release.
  • In case you missed it, Fedor reported on Wednesday that Cleveland was hosting several players for free agent workouts this week, including Armoni Brooks and Kelan Martin.

Central Notes: Bulls, Bucks, Cavs Coaches, Pistons

The Bulls made a splash in free agency this summer, signing several new veteran players. Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago breaks down the specific ways that costly new additions Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso can help Chicago earn its first postseason berth in five years.

Schaefer notes that DeRozan boasted the 21st-best offensive rating in the league last season (110.4) and can help boost the Bulls’ offense in a variety of ways. DeRozan’s ability to get to the free throw line, protect the ball, and create offense when Bulls All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine sits will all help Chicago win, Schaefer contends. Ball should help expedite the pace of Chicago’s offense. On the other end, stingy pick-and-roll defender Caruso should help the team limit opponents at the point of attack.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Bucks‘ offseason earned a B grade from Zach Harper of The Athletic. The Bucks upgraded their backcourt depth in signing veteran point guard (and former Milwaukee reserve) George Hill, as well as Tremont Waters. Harper suggests that Milwaukee also improved on the wing by adding solid veterans Grayson Allen and Rodney Hood, who should be able to recover still-injured swingman Donte DiVincenzo. Harper opines that the Bucks regressed in the frontcourt after letting defensive-minded forward P.J. Tucker walk in free agency. Meanwhile, the Bucks stayed the same while preserving their 2020/21 center rotation.
  • The Cavaliers have made some new coaching adjustments, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Dan Geriot, formerly an assistant on head coach J.B. Bickerstaff‘s bench, will become the head coach of the club’s NBAGL affiliate, the Cleveland Charge. Recent Charge head coach Nate Reinking, meanwhile, will join the Cavaliers as an assistant.
  • The rebuilding Pistons have some intriguing rotation decisions that could be informed by training camp performance, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Langlois recognizes that Detroit’s top six players appear to be fairly established, but that there is room for minutes for the club’s developing young players beyond that.

Cavs Notes: Drummond, Garland, Free Agency, Geriot

The Cavaliers and Andre Drummond have shown mutual interest in reaching an extension, but they remain far apart in preliminary discussions, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Cavs acquired Drummond from the Pistons at the trade deadline to provide insurance in the middle in case they lose Tristan Thompson in free agency. Fedor calls the decision to add Drummond a “trial run” rather than a long-term investment, but management only got to see him in eight games before the lockdown.

Drummond has a $28.7MM player option for next season that he’s almost certain to pick up. Fedor says the Cavaliers are realistic about Drummond’s talent, as well as his limitations, and don’t want to commit to an expensive long-term contract that could prevent the team from improving in other areas. Drummond is asking for a deal that would compensate him for skipping free agency in 2021, when many teams will have cap space available.

The Cavs will likely explore the trade market for Drummond after he officially picks up his option. Sources around the league believe his value will increase around the trade deadline, especially since there would be no financial commitment beyond the upcoming season, Fedor writes. It’s also a chance for Cleveland to get something in return before Drummond hits the open market.

There’s more from Cleveland, all courtesy of Fedor:

  • Darius Garland was a standout during the Cavaliers’ mini-camp and there’s hope that he’s headed in the right direction after a rocky first season. Fedor notes that Garland looked different in camp and seemed to have his confidence back after shooting just 40.1% as a rookie.
  • Cleveland projects to have lots of cap space for 2021, since an expected extension for Collin Sexton won’t hit the cap until 2022, but probably won’t be competitive for the top free agents. Considering the team’s history in free agency and its spot near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, Fedor expects the rebuilding to continue through the draft and the development of young talent.
  • The Cavaliers already have one opening for an assistant that they didn’t fill when J.B. Bickerstaff was promoted to head coach, and they could have another now that Tyronn Lue has become head coach of the Clippers. Fedor cites belief inside the organization that Dan Geriot might go to L.A. to join Lue’s staff.

Central Notes: Pistons, Cavs, Nance, Portis, Hoiberg

Assuming they’re all healthy to start the season, Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, and Reggie Jackson are locked in as three of the five players in the Pistons‘ starting lineup. However, head coach Dwane Casey hasn’t tipped his hand on which two wings will be joining them, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

“Guys are competing and it’s not going to be a quarterback controversy at all. We’re going to put the right people in the right positions, whether it’s the starting group or the second group that fit,” the Pistons’ new coach said. “That’s something we’re going to be watching over the next couple weeks to see. We have a good idea but nothing is concrete right now. There are guys who are defensive-minded and great defensively and guys who can shoot the lights out. We just have to figure it out.”

According to Beard, the early thought is that Casey will go with Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson. There are other contenders, including second-year sharpshooter Luke Kennard and newly-signed wing Glenn Robinson III, but Kennard is still recovering from a knee injury and Robinson will have to develop chemistry with his new teammates.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Cavaliers announced a series of promotions and hirings within their ranks this week. Among other moves, Cleveland named Dan Geriot and Mike Gerrity assistant coaches and added Andrew Olson as a shooting coach.
  • The Cavaliers are confident about their chances of securing Larry Nance Jr. to a long-term deal prior to the October 15 deadline for rookie scale extensions, tweets Tom Withers of The Associated Press.
  • Speaking of rookie scale extension candidates, Bobby Portis is also eligible for a new contract up until October 15. The Bulls big man appears set to enter the 2018/19 season as the club’s sixth man, a role he’s comfortable with, as Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago details.
  • With the Bulls‘ still in the midst of their rebuilding process, top executive John Paxson declined to name a win total when asked about the team’s expectations earlier this week. However, head coach Fred Hoiberg knows he’ll be expected to show positive steps forward during the fourth season of his five-year contract with the franchise, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

Cavs Rumors: LeBron, Love, Trade Talks, Coaches

While LeBron James will have until June 29 to exercise or decline his 2018/19 player option, his final decision on his next team won’t happen quickly and figures to stretch into July, Adrian Wojnarowski said on Monday during a draft special on ESPN (Twitter link via Sagar Trika). If that’s the case, James seems more likely to opt out than to opt in next week, which would have an impact on which suitors are viable destinations, as I explained here.

Meanwhile, Wojnarowski also reports that the Cavaliers would like to package Kevin Love and the No. 8 pick for a star player on draft night, but that combo may not net the kind of star they’re seeking (Twitter link via Trika). As Wojnarowski observes, Love’s value isn’t at its peak and the Brooklyn first-rounder isn’t quite as strong as Cleveland had hoped, limiting the appeal of that package to some extent.

Let’s round up a few more Cavs notes and rumors…

  • The Cavaliers have talked to the Grizzlies on more than one occasion, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoop.net, who cautions that he doesn’t know the specifics of those discussions. Memphis is reportedly open to the idea of attaching Chandler Parsons‘ contract to the No. 4 pick in a trade, so it’s possible Cleveland has checked in on that possibility.
  • Echoing a Monday report, Amico confirms that the Cavaliers are expressing interest in Hornets point guard Kemba Walker and have kicked the tires on disgruntled Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.
  • Although Amico expects the Cavs to hang onto the No. 8 pick, a lot of teams are interested in trading up to that spot, including the Nets.
  • The Cavs have had discussions about potentially acquiring another late first-round pick “to help open up the possibilities,” a league source tells Amico.
  • The Cavs are parting ways with assistant coach Jim Boylan and player development coach Phil Handy, multiple league sources tell Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. By not renewing the contracts for Boylan and Handy, the Cavs are clearing the path to give Dan Geriot and Damon Jones larger roles on their coaching staff, per ESPN’s report. No longer employed in Cleveland, Handy may be a candidate to join Nick Nurse‘s Raptors staff, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.