The Cavaliers will open the season with three 2022 All-Stars – Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen, and Darius Garland – on their roster, but it’s a fourth player who may ultimately determine how far the team goes, in the view of head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
As Kelsey Russo of The Athletic details (via Twitter), Bickerstaff identifies second-year big man Evan Mobley as a crucial ceiling raiser for the franchise. As Bickerstaff explains, among the Cavaliers’ core players, Mobley is the one who still has the most room for growth.
“Without trying to put too much on him, he is the guy who can help take us to the next level,” Bickerstaff said. “We understand the value of the guys who have done it, right? Darius has been an All-Star. Jarrett was an All-Star. Donovan has been an All-Star. (Caris) LeVert, Kevin (Love), like we understand and have an appreciation for those guys.
“… His skill set and tools can help take us to the level where we want to go. And the expectation that it happens overnight, probably not. But I expect from year to year, and month to month, you’re going to see improvements from him because that’s who he is.”
Here’s more on the Cavs:
- Caris LeVert feels as good as he has in years, following a “transformative” summer that saw him reevaluate everything from his diet to his workout regimen, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. LeVert said he battled some nagging injuries last season and during the summer, but finally feels fully healthy entering the fall. As Russo writes for The Athletic, LeVert wants to prove to the Cavs that his down year in 2021/22 was a fluke.
- Improved conditioning and an attention to detail are keys for Donovan Mitchell as he attempts to show this season that he can be a reliable defensive player, Russo writes in a separate story for The Athletic. “It’s not the ability,” Mitchell said this week. “I can play defense. I know that for a fact. I haven’t shown that and that is what I’m looking forward to doing here.”
- Dean Wade‘s three-year, $18.5MM contract extension features cap hits of $5,709,877 in 2023/24, $6,166,667 in ’24/25, and $6,623,456 in ’25/26, Hoops Rumors has learned. Wade’s third-year salary is currently only partially guaranteed for $4,623,458, but that figure will increase if Wade meets certain performance-based criteria in the next three seasons — he can boost the third-year guarantee by up to $666,666 per year, based on three separate achievements worth $222,222 apiece.
- Former Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson will be working this season with the Cleveland Charge, the team’s G League affiliate, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Gibson’s exact title and role are unclear.