Donovan Mitchell

Central Notes: Bulls, Donovan, Allen, Middleton

This year’s All-NBA voting offered another reminder of the depressing state the Bulls find themselves in, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. DeMar DeRozan, who received one third-team vote, was the only Bulls player mentioned on any of the 99 ballots. That comes after not having an All-Star and missing the playoffs for the second straight season.

Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas promised changes following last month’s loss in the play-in tournament. The front office will reportedly scour the trade market in another attempt to find a taker for Zach LaVine, but Johnson notes that there were more rumors about LaVine at the 2023 draft combine than this year’s version.

If nobody is willing to take on the $139MM that LaVine is owed over the next three seasons, Johnson sees sign-and-trades involving DeRozan and fellow free agent Patrick Williams as the best chances for immediate improvement, along with a potential Lonzo Ball comeback. However, Karnisovas has already stated that he hopes to re-sign both DeRozan and Williams this summer.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The recent addition of former Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. to Billy Donovan’s staff doesn’t mean the Bulls’ coach is in danger of losing his job, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley states that Donovan is “as safe as he has been since the day he was hired,” noting that Karnisovas expressed support for him after the season ended.
  • The Cavaliers may give serious consideration to breaking up their big-man tandem of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen this summer, suggests Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber only). The team has believed Mobley would eventually develop into a full-time center since he was drafted in 2021, according to Fedor, who adds that the two big men often appear to be in each other’s way on offense. Fedor believes the Cavs might be ready to part with Allen and maybe Donovan Mitchell or Darius Garland for an upgrade at the wing.
  • The Bucks only got minimal financial benefit from Khris Middleton missing out on a combined $2.1MM in bonuses tied to games played and the team’s success in the playoffs, Jim Owczarski of the Journal-Sentinel states in a mailbag column. Milwaukee will have a slightly lower tax bill, but all bonuses count in determining the new salary aprons, even if they’re not earned, so the Bucks still project as a second apron team for next season.

2023/24 All-NBA Teams Announced

The All-NBA teams have been announced for the 2023/24 season.

A total of 99 media members voted on the honors, with players receiving five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote and one point for a Third Team vote. This year’s All-NBA teams are as follows:

First Team

Second Team

Third Team

Others receiving votes and their point totals are the CelticsJaylen Brown (50), the ClippersPaul George (16), the SixersTyrese Maxey (16), the TimberwolvesRudy Gobert (12), the SpursVictor Wembanyama (11), the PelicansZion Williamson (11), the Magic’s Paolo Banchero (10), the KingsDe’Aaron Fox (9) the Heat’s Bam Adebayo (7) and the BullsDeMar DeRozan (1).

This is the first season that a minimum number of games was required to qualify for most postseason awards under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Among the stars who might have received All-NBA consideration if they had reached the 65-game threshold are Sixers center Joel Embiid, who was the 2022/23 MVP, along with Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, Knicks forward Julius Randle and Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis.

Wembanyama, who received two votes for the Second Team and five for the Third Team, was the only rookie named on any of the ballots. Earlier this week, he became the first rookie to earn a spot on an All-Defensive First Team.

The Lakers with Davis and James and the Suns with Durant and Booker were the only teams to have multiple players honored. They were both eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Several players became eligible for salary increases by achieving All-NBA honors. Read more here.

Rockets Rumors: No. 3 Pick, Mitchell, Tate, Green, Landale, Beasley

Prior to the draft lottery, a report indicated that the Rockets were interested in trading their 2024 first-rounder for future draft assets. That’s still a possibility, but after moving up from No. 9 to No. 3 on lottery day, Houston has a more valuable asset on its hands and will consider all potential paths with that pick, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

Team and league sources tell Iko that a handful of clubs have already expressed interest in the Rockets’ No. 3 overall selection, either in a trade-up scenario or by trading into the first round altogether. Houston is open to the idea of moving back and acquiring extra assets, Iko notes, though at the draft combine, the club was doing its homework on potential top-five picks. Team officials spoke to prospects like Donovan Clingan, Stephon Castle, Reed Sheppard, and Matas Buzelis, according to Iko, who hears from a source that Buzelis’ interview, in particular, was “excellent.”

Including that No. 3 pick in a trade package for an impact player is another avenue the Rockets figure to explore, and league sources tell Iko that Houston is among the teams with interest in Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, having monitored his situation for the last several months. Mitchell wouldn’t be available if he ends up signing an extension to remain in Cleveland, but if he’s on the trade block, the All-NBA guard would be a more “suitable” target for the Rockets than players like Brandon Ingram or Mikal Bridges, opines Iko.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Confirming a report from The Houston Chronicle, Iko says the Rockets have interest in the future Suns draft picks controlled by the Nets. Houston, which controls a handful of Brooklyn’s draft assets, is expected to reengage the Nets in trade talks prior to next month’s draft, team sources tell Iko.
  • According to Iko, “all signs point toward” the Rockets exercising their team options on Jae’Sean Tate ($7.07MM) and Jeff Green ($9.6MM) for 2024/25. That’s somewhat surprising, given that Tate’s role declined significantly last season and Green would be extremely unlikely to match his option salary as a free agent. But those expiring contracts for Tate and Green would perhaps have some value as salary-matching pieces in a trade. For what it’s worth, Houston could pick up Green’s option and then waive him by July 11 to avoid being on the hook for his ’24/25 salary.
  • Iko also suggests that the Rockets may retain Jock Landale, whose $8MM salary for 2024/25 is non-guaranteed until June 29. Landale played better in the second half of his first season in Houston, especially after Alperen Sengun went down, but he’s another player who wouldn’t be a bargain on his current deal and might have more value as a trade chip. He has non-guaranteed $8MM salaries for ’25/26 and ’26/27 too, so his contract could be treated as an expiring deal. If they hang onto Tate, Green, and Landale on their current contracts, the Rockets would still have plenty of breathing room below the projected luxury tax line, with access to the full mid-level exception.
  • Houston’s front office recognizes that outside shooting and floor spacing are areas of need this summer and has some interest in Bucks sharpshooter Malik Beasley, according to Iko, who hears from sources that Beasley is also generating early interest from the Magic and the Warriors.

Atlantic Notes: Melton, LeBron, Mitchell, Thibodeau

De’Anthony Melton missed 44 games this season due to a spinal injury but the Sixers guard is eager to see what he’s worth on the open market. He’ll be a free agent this summer.

“I feel like I established myself in the league in understanding what I do, what I bring to the table,” Melton told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “So I think everybody knows that. … You never know.”

Despite his injury-riddled season, Melton should make more than the $8.6MM he averaged the last four seasons, according to Pompey. Melton’s salary-cap hold is $15.2MM but the Sixers could renounce his rights to open up more cap space.

“I would love to [come back to the Sixers], but it’s not up to me and I understand that,” Melton said. “It is what it is and I understand that it’s a business. So I’ll roll with whatever.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Could the Sixers lure LeBron James to Philadelphia by drafting Bronny James? The Sixers have the cap space to sign a top-level free agent if James opts out. Pompey explores that possibility, noting they own a first-round pick (No. 16) and a second-rounder (No. 41). They could expend a pick in a weak draft on Bronny, hoping the dream of playing with his son could convince his father to come to Philly.
  • The Nets have been eyeing Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell for the past year and they’ll need to pounce if he becomes available in the trade market, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. While Mitchell and the Cavs are reportedly interested in working out an extension, the Nets could be an option for the New York native if that situation changes.
  • Forget about any roster moves. The top priority for the Knicks’ front office this offseason should be reaching an extension agreement with coach Tom Thibodeau, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post opines. They won 50 games and a playoff series and made it to Game 7 in the second round because Thibodeau forbade his players from feeling sorry for themselves when injuries ravaged their rotation, Vaccaro writes.

Central Notes: Pacers, Allen, Mitchell, Garland, Grimes

Sunday afternoon will mark the first experience with a Game 7 for most of the Pacers‘ roster, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Indiana extended the series with a convincing win in front of a home crowd Friday night, but a much different atmosphere will await the team at Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks have won all three matchups.

“It’s the ultimate game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s a great opportunity. … This team has been through a lot of new experiences over the last 3 1/2 weeks and this will be another new one. We’ll do everything possible to get them ready. In Game 7s, it comes down to compete level and how well you’re tied together.”

Dopirak notes that Pascal Siakam and T.J. McConnell faced each other in a Game 7 in 2019 when Toronto topped Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Myles Turner and James Johnson also have Game 7 experience, as does Aaron Nesmith, but he only played two total minutes in a pair of seventh games with Boston.

“The team that exerts the most energy and plays to exhaustion comes out on top and it’s win or go home,” McConnell said. “It’s something that I feel like every player plays for, a Game 7. Excited for the opportunity, but we have to be more dialed in than any of have ever been before. … If you’re not playing to exhaustion in this next game, why even go?”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers may explore trade opportunities involving center Jarrett Allen this offseason, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stated on his Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link). “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.”
  • On his latest Lowe Post podcast (YouTube link), ESPN’s Zach Lowe speculates that the Pelicans could be among the teams with interest in Mitchell and that the Spurs might pursue Darius Garland if the Cavaliers decide to break up their backcourt. “I will be surprised if Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland are both on the Cavaliers next season,” Lowe said. Which guard is more likely to land on the trade block will depend on whether or not Mitchell agrees to an extension.
  • A sprained knee limited Quentin Grimes to six games after the Pistons acquired him from New York at the trade deadline, but he should enter training camp with a chance to earn significant playing time, according to Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Grimes is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.

Lakers Rumors: Mitchell, Redick, LeBron, Reaves, Bronny

As the Lakers weigh their offseason options, one path they will seriously consider is packaging players and draft picks to attempt to acquire a third star to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Within the last year, star guards like Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, and Zach LaVine have been mentioned as possible targets for Los Angeles, but Jovan Buha of The Athletic (YouTube link) says another name will likely be at the top of the team’s wish list entering the summer.

“If the Lakers go down the three-star path, and it’s still unclear — I think they’re going to kick the can down the road and see the possibility and see what the asking price is. There are teams that can outbid them if they get into a bidding war,” Buha said in an episode of Buha’s Block. “But if they do go down that road and at least explore it, (Cavaliers guard) Donovan Mitchell would be the preferred guy.”

There’s no guarantee that Mitchell will be available this summer, since the Cavs hope to sign him to a long-term extension. If Mitchell turns down that offer and ends up on the trade block, the Lakers would have plenty of competition for the five-time All-Star and wouldn’t necessarily be able to offer the best package, as Buha notes. L.A. would be able to offer up to three first-round picks alongside perhaps guard Austin Reaves, forward Rui Hachimura, and other salary-matching pieces.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Echoing previous reports, Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times says people around the NBA view J.J. Redick as the favorite in the Lakers’ head coaching search. Opinions on Redick’s potential as a coach are split, with some high on his upside due to his understanding of the game and his ability to clearly communicate ideas, while others “see nothing but inexperience” or believe his business relationship with LeBron James would have a negative impact on the locker room, Woike writes. Sources tell The Times that one reason Redick is viewed as a frontrunner is a widespread belief that he’ll have “incredibly strong” interviews.
  • Within that same L.A. Times story, Woike explores the likelihood of LeBron remaining with the Lakers (his sources believe it’ll happen), discusses the team’s top trade targets (he says none of Young, Murray, LaVine, and Brandon Ingram were seriously linked to the Lakers at the combine), and mentions the team’s ongoing fondness for Reaves. According to Woike, the Lakers regard Reaves highly as a “prospect for the future” on a team-friendly contract.
  • Shams Charania of The Athletic is among the reporters to stress that drafting Bronny James won’t offer a team any assurances of having a shot at his superstar father. “It would not surprise me in the coming weeks if a team does reach out to (agent) Rich Paul – or anyone else around Bronny James, (including) LeBron James himself – and says, ‘Hey, if we draft Bronny James, would you come as well, LeBron?'” Charania said on the Up & Adams Show (Twitter video link). “And the answer to that is going to be no, as of right now. That’s not a given, that’s not something that’s going to be preordained.” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said earlier in the week that Paul has made a concerted effort to dispel the idea that his father-and-son clients need to play together.
  • The Lakers announced on Friday (via Twitter) that they’ll host three preseason games outside of Los Angeles in the fall. The Lakers will play the visiting Timberwolves on October 4 and the Suns on Oct. 6 at Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs before facing the Warriors on Oct. 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Heat Notes: Mitchell, Rozier, Bryant, Robinson

The Heat‘s 2023 offseason was centered around their pursuit of Damian Lillard, and with the Cavaliers eliminated from the 2024 playoffs after falling to Boston in the second round, it could be a second straight offseason of star hunting in Miami. While Donovan Mitchell may ultimately agree to sign an extension with the Cavs, Miami figures to be among the teams pursuing the All-Star guard if he hits the trade market this offseason.

Recent reporting from The Athletic suggested the Cavs feel optimistic about securing a long-term commitment from Mitchell, but as we noted earlier today, that’s not a sure thing yet. If Mitchell were to ask out of Cleveland, any team acquiring him would need assurances he would commit long-term before sacrificing significant capital. Along with the Heat, the Lakers and Nets are teams frequently mentioned among those with potential interest in Mitchell.

As for the Heat, they may need Mitchell to use his leverage to push for a deal to Miami to have a realistic chance to land him, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Other teams with potential interest could outbid the Heat, who only have one first-rounder available to trade if the situation doesn’t play out before this year’s draft. The Lakers will have three potential firsts and the Nets will have up to seven available to pursue Mitchell in this scenario, with Cleveland still set to owe Utah its first-rounders in 2025, 2027, 2029 and two pick swaps in 2026 and 2028.

Ultimately, there are more questions than answers when it comes to Mitchell’s future. If he does ask for a trade, the Heat would have to get creative in order to acquire him, Chiang writes.

We have more from the Heat:

  • The Heat moved a first-round pick to acquire Terry Rozier before the 2024 deadline. It was only the third time Miami has done so in the past decade — the team also fave up first-rounders for Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler. According to Chiang, even though the veteran guard missed the playoffs due to a neck injury, the Heat have no complaints with Rozier and are pleased with what he brought to the team. “I had a great conversation with him about some things,” team president Pat Riley said. “He’s open, he wanted to know from me what I thought about what he can do even at his age, which is still young. I gave him my opinion and I’m sure he’ll work on it, But he was a great addition for us, absolutely.
  • Thomas Bryant signed with the Heat last season on a minimum contract with a player option for 2024/25. He wound up only appearing in 38 games with averages of 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds. While the vision was for Bryant to be the primary backup for Bam Adebayo and perhaps play alongside him at times, that didn’t come to fruition, Ira Winderman of South Florida’s Sun Sentinel writes. Bryant now must make a decision by June 29 on his $2.8MM player option for 2024/25. “The opportunities were not there all the time, but I believed it was things that coach [Erik Spoelstra] had to do,” Bryant said. “He was dealing with everything, as well. We had injuries and there were opportunities there for me, as well. I tried to capitalize as much as I could in those as many I had. But overall, I thought it was a great time.
  • Bryant’s decision may very well be the deciding factor for what the Heat do with another depth big in Orlando Robinson, Winderman writes in the same piece. Robinson was promoted from a two-way contract but hasn’t broke into the rotation yet, appearing in just 36 games with averages of 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds. The Heat have a July 15 deadline to guarantee his $2.1MM salary or to waive him and make him a free agent. Since neither Bryant nor Robinson made it into the rotation, it’s possible Miami looks to move on from one or both.

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!

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 Cleveland.com (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.com. “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!

“Growing Sentiment” Mitchell Will Sign Extension With Cavs

While there are reportedly teams waiting to make trade offers for him if he decides not to sign, there is a “growing sentiment” around the NBA that Donovan Mitchell will wind up inking a maximum-salary extension with the Cavaliers this offseason, according to Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.

A four-year extension for Mitchell is projected to be worth $200MM+. A new deal would require Mitchell to decline his $37.1MM player option for 2025/26.

A five-time All-Star, Mitchell played at an All-NBA level again in his second season with Cleveland, averaging 26.6 PPG and career highs of 5.1 RPG, 6.1 APG and 1.8 SPG. However, the 27-year-old was limited to 55 games, largely due to a left knee injury, and is thus ineligible for an All-NBA nod.

Even if he had made an All-NBA team, Mitchell would have been ineligible for a super-max extension, since he was traded from Utah to Cleveland two years after signing his rookie scale extension.

Mitchell signing a new long-term deal with the Cavs after they gave up a major haul of assets to acquire him two years ago is theoretically a major positive for the organization. However, sources tell The Athletic that if Mitchell re-ups with Cleveland, Darius Garland‘s agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, “would have a conversation with Cavs officials on potentially finding a new home for the one-time All-Star.”

The fit of Garland and Mitchell, two diminutive guards who are at their best with the ball in their hands, has long been a question mark. The same is true of the big man pairing of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.

According to The Athletic’s trio, Wasserman, which represents Mobley, tried to convince Cleveland not to draft him a few years ago — the agency wanted him to land with the Thunder, who unsuccessfully tried to trade for Cleveland’s (at the time) No. 3 overall pick. The Cavs ignored that ploy, and have maintained a “healthy and positive” relationship with Mobley and his representatives since then.

Mobley, 22, is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer. He finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting in ’22/23.

As for Allen, the former All-Star is coming off a strong season and is on a very reasonable contract ($40MM over the next two seasons). But the rib contusion that sidelined him for the team’s final eight playoff games reportedly “caused frustration toward him in at least some corners of the organization with teammates and staff members who felt he could have done more” to attempt to suit up — according to The Athletic, Allen “refused an injection to try and numb the pain to play.”