Coaching Change Just The Start To Cavs’ Busy Offseason

The Cleveland Cavaliers fired their coach on Thursday, sending J.B. Bickerstaff into the NBA unemployment line after just more than five seasons.Koby Altman, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA

Fair or not, president of basketball operations Koby Altman and the front office clearly believed the Cavs went as far as they could under Biickerstaff — and are now seeking someone to get them to the next level. 

For the record, Bickerstaff got them to the play-in tournament … then the first round of the playoffs … then the second round. Things weren’t always pretty, but the Cavs took the natural steps. So the next coach will be expected to help them reach the conference finals and beyond.

But the coaching change is viewed as just the start to what is expected to be a chaotic offseason for the Cavaliers.

First, the Cavaliers have their fingers crossed that star guard Donovan Mitchell will sign a contract extension. If he doesn’t, they will need to trade him. In today’s NBA, not signing a contract extension is the same as requesting a trade. Mitchell is expected to stay, but anymore, you can’t be sure until his name is on the dotted line. Mitchell could keep the Cavs waiting until July.

Then, there are reports that if Mitchell does sign, the agent for Darius Garland will request a trade. That agent, Rich Paul, also represents LeBron James and many other stars. Apparently, Paul doesn’t view Garland as a fit next to Mitchell, and you have to believe Garland doesn’t think so, either.

But wait. There’s more.

The Cavs also have to hire a coach in there, and they are indeed casting a wide net. Names such as New Orleans Pelicans assistant James Borrego and Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson are among those said to be at the top of their list. But there are so many more — with sources telling Hoops Wire the Cavs have up to 10 candidates.

The idea will be to hire a coach that Mitchell likes and everyone else can at least tolerate. Generally, if your star player is happy so are his teammates. Not always, but usually.

Along with that, the Cavaliers are expected to draw plenty of trade interest in center Jarrett Allen. Sources say it’s unlikely that the Cavs will move on from anyone other than Garland should Mitchell re-sign. So Allen will likely remain, unless someone “knocks off (the Cavaliers’) socks,” one source said.

In other words, other than a coaching change, the Cavaliers are expected to run it mostly back after finishing 48-34. But they might not, too. They aren’t expected to gut the roster, but they do want to be in championship contention next season after reaching the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs this year. All moves will be made toward that end.

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