Dean Wade

Cavs Notes: Officiating, Mitchell, Allen, LeVert, Wade, LeBron

The Cavaliers outscored the Celtics in the paint (42-38) in Monday’s Game 4 loss, but they were awarded just seven free throws on the night, compared to 24 for Boston. As Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes, Cleveland’s players and head coach expressed their displeasure after the game with that discrepancy.

“We drive the ball … a lot,” Cavs guard Darius Garland said, emphasizing the last two words. “Seven free throws, two of those were techs, so five (free throws) in a 48-minute game, it’s tough. … I know how many times I get hit. I know many times my teammates get hit, put on the floor and we can’t reciprocate it. It’s tough.”

“I thought our guys deserved much better, the way that they were competing,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “They were attacking the paint. You know, they were getting after it the same (as Boston). We’re not asking for anything more, but we’re asking for equal. And I don’t think we got an equal opportunity at it tonight from that standpoint.”

The Game 4 loss puts the Cavaliers on the brink of elimination. They’ll face a 3-1 deficit as they travel back to Boston for Wednesday’s Game 5.

We have more out of Cleveland:

  • Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell, who was unavailable for Game 4 due to a left calf strain, admitted that his status for Game 5 is “very much in doubt,” writes Chris Fedor of (subscription required). The injury is affecting the same leg that has bothered Mitchell in recent months — he missed 16 games down the stretch as a result of tendinitis in his left knee, and he’s wary of returning sooner than he should and risking a more serious injury. “It’s not just the calf strain,” Mitchell told Fedor. “The calf can lead to an Achilles and then things get much worse.”
  • The Cavs’ issues extend beyond Mitchell. Within the same story, Fedor says that Jarrett Allen‘s return from a rib contusion “doesn’t feel close” and adds that Caris LeVert aggravated a knee issue on Monday that has been bothering him as of late.
  • Even Dean Wade, who has been able to suit up for the past two games following a lengthy absence due to a right knee injury, isn’t fully out of the woods. According to Fedor (subscription required), the possibility of offseason surgery hasn’t been ruled out for the Cavs forward. “There’s still concern,” said Wade, who declined to offer specific details on the diagnosis. “We’ll see what happens after the season. We had options and we took this option as the best path.”
  • Lakers star LeBron James, who was in attendance at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for Monday’s Game 4, received a loud standing ovation from Cavs fans, as Vardon writes for The Athletic. In a separate story for The Athletic, Jason Lloyd – arguing that James’ public actions are always “calculated” – considers whether another return to Cleveland is a possibility for the four-time MVP before he retires. During a segment on ESPN’s Get Up, Brian Windhorst (YouTube link) also discussed James’ appearance in Cleveland.

Cavaliers Notes: Mitchell, Game 3, Tweaks

The recent performances of Cavaliers players not named Donovan Mitchell are certainly not endearing Cleveland to the All-Star shooting guard, opines Chris Fedor of

On Saturday, the Cavaliers fell 106-93 to the Celtics in Game 3 of their ongoing second round matchup, which Cleveland now trails 2-1. Boston led for almost 42 of the contest’s 48 minutes, including by double digits for much of the second half.

Cleveland especially struggled on offense, making just 13 three point shots.

“At the end of the day, we didn’t score,” Mitchell said. “We didn’t score when we needed to respond back. We’ll be better. This series is not going to be easy. Continue to fight and claw like we have been.”

“A lot of it was self-induced,” Mitchell said of the defeat. “I think a lot of things we did wrong. You give them credit. But there were a bunch of things that we could have done better.”

Across the past five playoff games, Mitchell has score over 180 points and nailed 20 or more triples on 50% from the field or better. It’s the second time he’s achieved this feat. He’s also the only player in league history to have achieved this, per Fedor. His Cleveland comrades couldn’t help handle the offensive load effectively. He has one guaranteed season left on his current contract, and could ask for a trade this summer.

There’s more out of Cleveland:

  • After the Game 3 defeat, Mitchell seemed more noticeably upset than he had been at any prior point in the playoffs, notes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “We held them to 106, and that’s not a bad defensive game against a team like that, but it’s the key moments of when they get those points, the runs they get and then not being able to score back on the other end,” Mitchell said. “It just compounds, and it compounds. I think that’s the frustrating part of it.” With Game 4 forthcoming on Monday, the Cavaliers have little time to mope.
  • To win Game 4 and level the series, it may behoove the Cavaliers to consider starting newly-returned forward Dean Wade in the stead of defense-first Isaac Okoro, and tinkering more with a smaller lineup comprising Mitchell, Darius Garland, Sam Merrill, Caris LeVert and Evan Mobley, opines Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.
  • In case you missed it, the Cavaliers are considered to potentially be interested in trading for star Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram this summer, along with the Hawks.

Cavaliers Notes: Game 2 Win, Bickerstaff, Wade, Allen

The Cavaliers may have a shot at a second-round upset after discovering a formula for beating the Celtics in Game 2, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Cleveland, which was burned by Boston’s three-point shooting in the series opener, concentrated on eliminating open looks from beyond the arc. On offense, the Cavs made a greater effort to get the ball to Evan Mobley, who had plenty of room to operate near the basket with Al Horford assigned to guard Isaac Okoro.

Cleveland also found a way to diversify its offense, which was dominated by Donovan Mitchell in Game 1 and throughout the Orlando series. Mitchell only had six points on six shots at halftime before taking over in the second half to finish with 29.

The result was a surprising 24-point victory for a team that came into the night as a double-digit underdog and was considered by oddsmakers to be nearly an even-money prospect to get swept, Vardon notes.

“It (speaks to) the togetherness of the group, the resilience of the group and the importance of winning to them,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “That’s the most important thing to the guys. There is nothing else that matters. There is no other agenda. We’ve got playoff games in front of us that we need to win.”

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • Speculation about Bickerstaff’s future started early, according to Vardon, who states that it was “hot chatter” around the league for the first two months of the season. Vardon cites a home loss to Portland on November 30, which was followed by a trip to Detroit. Multiple sources tell Vardon that Bickerstaff would likely have been fired if the Cavs had lost to the Pistons, but they won three in a row and saved his job.
  • Dean Wade, who has been sidelined since March 8 with a sprained right knee, will be available for tonight’s Game 3, tweets Ethan Sands of Starting center Jarrett Allen will miss his sixth straight game with a rib injury.
  • In a discussion of the Pelicans, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and William Guillory of The Athletic speculate that New Orleans would have interest in Allen if the Cavs decide to explore trade options this summer. They believe the Pelicans would like to upgrade from center Jonas Valanciunas, and Scotto notes that Allen played for general manager Trajan Langdon when he was an executive with Brooklyn.

Cavaliers Notes: Game 1, Strus, Allen, Wade

The Cavaliers seemed to use Game 1 to try to figure out how to handle the top-seeded Celtics for the rest of the series, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Cleveland was overwhelmed in the second half on Tuesday on the way to a 25-point loss, but Vardon writes that the players didn’t appear shaken by the defeat and are viewing it as a learning experience.

“I think you can see the formula of how to attack, how to put yourself and the group in proper positions to succeed,” Donovan Mitchell said. “I think you can figure some things out (after one game), but we’ve got to make some shots. They’re a high-volume team, a high-powered team.”

The main concern coming out of the opener is how to reduce the number of good shots Boston is getting from beyond the arc, Vardon adds. The Celtics pulled away by making 18 three-pointers, including seven by Derrick White and four from Jaylen Brown.

“We have to do a better job of limiting the amount of three-pointers that they took,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “That’s being in our spots as early as we can be, but doing a better job than we did tonight of reading the basketball.”

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • Most of Cleveland’s roster has never faced the Celtics in a playoff series, but this is the third year in a row for Max Strus, Vardon notes. Strus said that with Kristaps Porzingis injured, Boston’s current lineup is very similar to the team that Miami defeated in last year’s Eastern Conference finals.
  • Jarrett Allen continues to struggle with a rib injury that he suffered in Game 4 of the first-round series with Orlando. Allen missed the rest of that series and wasn’t able to play in Game 1 against Boston. “He hasn’t been feeling comfortable at all with that rib contusion,” Shams Charania said on Run It Back by FanDuel (video link). “… There hasn’t been much optimism that he was going to play last night, we’ll see in the games to come if there is.” Allen is “really uncomfortable,” according to Charania’s sources.
  • Dean Wade has already been ruled out for Thursday’s Game 2, tweets Chris Fedor of Wade has been sidelined since March 8 with a sprained right knee, but the Cavs are hopeful that he can return at some point during this series.

Eastern Notes: Wade, Allen, J. Brown, Claxton, Bucks

Cavaliers forward Dean Wade, who continues to recover from a right knee injury, hasn’t played since March 8, but it’s possible he’ll return to action at some point in the Eastern Conference semifinals, writes Chris Fedor of (subscription required). Sources tell Fedor that there’s hope Wade will be able to play later in the series, possibly as early as Game 3 or 4 in Cleveland.

Wade is ramping up his on-court activity, having conducted an individual workout on Monday and then doing some light shooting and conditioning work at Tuesday’s shootaround, according to Fedor. His availability later in the series will depend on how his knee responds to the increase in activity.

After averaging a modest 5.4 points per game in 54 regular season appearances, Wade likely won’t be a difference-maker in the series vs. Boston. However, as Fedor observes, the Cavs haven’t gotten much this postseason from Georges Niang, who has made just 6-of-29 (20.7%) shots in six games and has nearly as many fouls (15) as points (17). Having another frontcourt option available off the bench could come in handy for Cleveland.

The presence of another power forward in the rotation would be even more crucial if center Jarrett Allen remains sidelined. Allen, who missed the final three games of the Cavs’ first-round series vs. Orlando, is listed as questionable to play in Game 1 on Tuesday.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Celtics wing Jaylen Brown spoke back in the fall about wanting to take on more challenging defensive assignments and play at an All-Defensive level in 2023/24, and he has delivered on that promise, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston, who says that Brown will likely “draw a heavy dose” of Donovan Mitchell in the second-round series vs. Cleveland. “He’s picking up point guards, he guards bigs,” teammate Derrick White said of Brown. “Just an athletic freak. He can guard so many different positions and he just really bought in this year. I think he was a good defender before the season but just taking it to that next level, just consistently night in, night out, and wanting those challenges. Taking on those challenges and stepping up big time.”
  • Within a look at the Nets‘ upcoming offseason, Lucas Kaplan of NetsDaily cites sources who say Brooklyn remains “very confident” in its ability to re-sign unrestricted free agent Nic Claxton, even if his price is in the neighborhood of $25MM per year.
  • Adding athleticism to their roster figures to be a priority for the Bucks ahead of the 2024/25 season, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, who notes that the team will also benefit from many of its key pieces having their first full offseason together — Damian Lillard was acquired just ahead of training camp last fall, while Doc Rivers was hired in January. “I told Giannis (Antetokounmpo) and Dame I’m going to send them things all summer we’re working on for them to work on,” Rivers said. “And they both were very excited about that. I’m assuming Khris (Middleton) will like the same thing. That gives us an advantage.”

Cavs’ Dean Wade To Miss At Least Remainder Of First Round

The Cavaliers released an update on Dean Wade on Wednesday, announcing (via Twitter) that the injured forward will miss the rest of Cleveland’s first-round series with Orlando.

According to the Cavs, Wade recently underwent an MRI on the right knee sprain that has kept him on the shelf since March 13. He continues to do daily rehab, but needs more time to recover. Wade has no timeline for a return, with the team saying he’s out indefinitely.

A fifth-year forward who played college ball at Kansas State, Wade is one of Cleveland’s best defensive players. He averaged 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 39.1% from long distance in 54 games this season, including 32 starts (20.5 minutes).

A report at the beginning of April indicated that there was concern about Wade’s postseason availability. Based on today’s update, it certainly doesn’t sound like his return is imminent. Isaac Okoro and Georges Niang will likely continue to receive steady minutes off the bench with Wade out.

The good news for the Cavs is that they won both of their home games to hold a 2-0 lead thus far over the Magic. Game 3 is set for Thursday night in Orlando.

Injury Notes: Embiid, Sixers, Cavs, Hornets, Rozier

After previously being listed as questionable, reigning MVP Joel Embiid was subsequently ruled out by the Sixers ahead of Sunday’s season finale against Brooklyn, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports. Embiid’s official injury designation was left knee injury recovery, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

When asked if he expected Embiid to play as long as he didn’t have any issues pregame, head coach Nick Nurse shifted around a bit while saying, “Yeah, same on the (other) questionable guys” (Twitter video link via PHLY Sixers).

De’Anthony Melton (back injury recovery) and KJ Martin (left great toe contusion), the other two players with questionable tags, were later ruled out as well.

In his fifth game back following a torn left meniscus in January, which required surgery, Embiid appeared to tweak the same knee in Friday’s win over Orlando, calling to be subbed out a couple minutes before the first half ended. He returned for the second half and finished the game, but was noticeably grimacing at times.

Sunday’s game has major playoff implications for the 76ers, who currently have the same record as Orlando and Indiana at 46-35 but are the No. 7 seed due to tiebreakers. Still, Embiid’s health outlook is much more critical for the postseason and the future — Philadelphia went just 15-27 without the 30-year-old this season.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • The Cavaliers, who have secured at least the No. 4 seed in the East and could move as high as No. 2, will be without some of their top players on Sunday, writes Chris Fedor of Donovan Mitchell (knee), Darius Garland (lower back contusion), Caris LeVert (knee soreness), Sam Merrill (neck strain) and Dean Wade (knee sprain) are all out. “It’s not rest,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said prior to tipoff. “Those guys have things they are dealing with that we are trying to protect over the long term. Not guys who are just taking today off. That was the thinking going into it — if we can get them yesterday and today and get out throughout this week, hopefully by Saturday or Sunday, whenever we play, that’s an advantage for us. We will go out and compete our tails off to make sure whatever may happen. So much is out of our control. It’s not a situation where we are going in and saying, ‘We need to do this or do that.’ We don’t control the outcome. So many other teams that have their own plans and own minds that they are trying to make up. We’re going out and trying to compete our tails off and see what happens.”
  • The Cavs are facing the Hornets on Sunday, and Charlotte will also be very undermanned, the team announced (via Twitter). Miles Bridges (right wrist), Brandon Miller (right wrist), Davis Bertans (left Achilles), Nick Richards (right plantar fascia) and Grant Williams (right ankle) were all downgraded from questionable to out, joining four other players who are dealing with long-term injuries.
  • Heat guard Terry Rozier underwent additional testing on his neck injury in recent days, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (subscriber link). Head coach Erik Spoelstra continues to refer to Rozier as day-to-day, but he’ll miss his fourth straight game on Sunday, leaving his postseason status up in the air. Rozier has been taking anti-inflammatories to deal with the issue, Winderman adds.

Central Notes: Mitchell, Cavs, Wade, Pistons

Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell was “angrier than he has been all season” following Sunday’s blowout loss to the Nuggets in Denver, writes Chris Fedor of (subscription required). The latest defeat was the culmination of a month filled with injuries and poor play, as Cleveland went just 7-10 in March.

I told you at the beginning of the season, if we had these struggles at this point then it’s a problem,” Mitchell said, referencing an early-November conversation in Oklahoma City after Cleveland dropped to 3-5. “It can’t happen. I can say all this now. We have to find a way to figure it out. It’s not going to linger after tonight. Have to watch the film and get back to what we do. But it can’t happen. We can all point to s–t. It’s April. It’s (expletive) April. We’ve got to figure it out. And we will.”

While he refused to use his knee issue as an excuse, the 27-year-old clearly isn’t 100% physically, according to Fedor, who notes that Mitchell’s numbers are down across the board since he first started dealing with the injury. Normally one of the most explosive players in the league, Mitchell can’t beat defenders off the dribble at the moment, is having his shots blocked more often, and is taking far more threes than normal, Fedor adds.

I’m working back into it. That’s natural. I’m not worried about it. Just continue to build the reps and build the mental confidence in it,” Mitchell said when asked if he was playing at less than full strength. “At the end of the day I’m fine. I have to play better. We all have to play better. I’m not going to sit here and point to that. Everybody else is going to look at it like that. But it’s April. Gotta be better.”

Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he hasn’t discussed the possibility of resting Mitchell at times down the stretch to give the knee more time to heal, but acknowledged “it’s a conversation we will have to have.” Mitchell said the team isn’t in panic mode yet and he still believes in the group.

I would say it’s more so of a mindset of let’s figure it out as opposed to concern,” Mitchell said, per Fedor. “I think concern breeds anxiety and stress. I don’t think we are at that point. I don’t want to go like, ‘Oh we’re panicking.’ We’re not there. I think it’s just we have to figure it out and we have the capability to do it. I have the utmost confidence in our group and everybody to do that.”

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers forward Dean Wade may miss the rest of the regular season with a knee sprain, sources tell Fedor (subscriber link). One of the team’s top defenders, Wade last played on March 8. While he has been making progress in recent days, there’s no guarantee the 27-year-old will be back in time for the playoffs, according to Fedor.
  • In a mailbag column, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic says he expects the last-place Pistons to undergo a major roster overhaul in the offseason. Edwards believes Detroit needs to prioritize shooting and defense this summer, and lists Tobias Harris, Nic Claxton, and Paul George as three potential free agents to keep an eye on, though he acknowledges George is a “long shot.”
  • The Pistons entered the season with high expectations, and have fallen well short of their goals on almost every level, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscriber link). Considering they only won 17 games last year and may finish with the worst record in franchise history in 2023/24, it’s clear that significant changes are needed. Sankofa takes stock of the season and considers how Detroit may look to rectify some of its mistakes going forward.

Central Notes: Cavaliers, McDermott, Sasser, Bitim

The rigors of a long season and the toll of injuries caught up with the Cavaliers Sunday night in Miami, writes Chris Fedor of The Cavs looked “disinterested, distracted and exhausted,” according to Fedor, as they trailed by 21 points at halftime and fell behind by as many as 45 in the second half.

“We’ve asked these guys to do so much,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We have asked them to carry a burden of everybody having to do more because of all the injuries and the things we are going through. I think it just showed tonight. It caught up with us. I think mentally and physically, we are worn. It’s on us all to figure it out. No excuses. It doesn’t get any easier. I think tonight was one of those nights where collectively it just set in on us. It was uncharacteristic of this group. I think we had one of those nights.”

Cleveland welcomed back Evan Mobley, who played 21 minutes in his return from a left ankle sprain that had sidelined him since March 5. However, Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus and Dean Wade all remain sidelined, and Bickerstaff pulled his starters early in the third quarter to save them for tonight’s second game of a back-to-back.

“These games happen in the NBA where you just get knocked out in the first half and you can never really get back up and start swinging,” Georges Niang said. “Nobody is going to feel bad for us because everybody has had to go through the same thing this year. You just have to have amnesia and flush this one. There is nothing that we can gain from this. Nobody likes getting beat like we just got beat. I think we will remember the feeling of what it felt like to get whooped and fight to never have that feeling again.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Doug McDermott has become a dangerous weapon for the Pacers since returning from a strained right calf that kept him out of action for nearly a month, observes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Over his last three games, McDermott is 9-of-15 from the floor and 5-of-11 from three-point range. “With shooting, there’s going to be some weird pockets every once in a while,” McDermott said. “I wasn’t shooting it great. I knew every time I shoot the ball it has a chance of going in. I just gotta have that belief and just keep firing away. These guys are so unselfish. They kept finding me. It will fall.”
  • Pistons rookie Marcus Sasser is a natural scorer who’s learning to play point guard in the NBA, per James L. Edwards of The Athletic. Sasser is shooting 44.1% from the field and 39.3% from three-point range, but at 6’1″ he needs to develop his play-making skills to fully unlock his game. “There’s a difference learning when to score, when to pass,” he said. “The main thing, right now, I’m just trying to get better in pick-and-rolls, to make the right reads. I feel like the scoring and stuff will come. It’s a learning experience for me.”
  • Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times examines whether Onuralp Bitim can develop into a Max Strus-type player for the Bulls.

Central Notes: Wade, Cavs, Thompson, McDermott, Stewart

After missing the Cavaliers‘ past three games for personal reasons, forward Dean Wade rejoined the club and participated in Friday’s practice, according to Chris Fedor of (subscription required).

With forward Evan Mobley unavailable due to a left ankle sprain, Wade had been inserted into the starting lineup prior to his stint away from the team. Georges Niang was elevated to the starting five during Wade’s absence, and it’s unclear whether Wade will reclaim that spot once he’s ready to return, Fedor writes. The Cavaliers can put off that decision for at least one more game, since Wade will be out on Saturday in Houston due to knee soreness (Twitter link via Fedor).

As for Mobley, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the big man is doing some “light work” and making progress in his recovery. A source tells Fedor that Mobley did some shooting work on Friday, but didn’t participate in practice and is unlikely to play on the Cavaliers’ current road trip, which runs through Monday.

There’s also still no specific timeline for the return of Max Strus from a left knee strain, Fedor adds. The Cavs’ starting small forward will miss his seventh straight game on Saturday.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • In a separate subscriber-only story for, Fedor notes that Tristan Thompson‘s 25-game suspension has come to an end, meaning he can once again be active for the Cavaliers as of Saturday. Thompson, who expressed excitement about returning, joked that he was so anxious to play that he “thought about sneaking into the arena a couple times” during his suspension. Bickerstaff, meanwhile, lauded Thompson’s impact in the locker room and referred to the veteran center as “this group’s big brother.”
  • Pacers forward Doug McDermott is “getting close” from returning from the right calf strain that has kept him on the shelf for the past eight games, head coach Rick Carlisle said on Friday, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. McDermott has been ruled out for Saturday’s contest against Brooklyn, but practiced on Friday. Indiana should benefit from re-adding him to a second unit that recently lost Bennedict Mathurin for the season.
  • In an interesting conversation with James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart discussed what it was like coming to terms with the knowledge that he won’t become a superstar at the NBA level after starring at every level prior to being drafted. “You definitely have to swallow some ego,” Stewart said. “… Once you get to a certain point … I guess, you see it for what it is. I’m just shooting you straight — there aren’t often plays called for me. For me, it’s, ‘How can I still impact the game?’ To me, I’d rather have the impact that I have, on defense. I feel like I can control the game that way.”