Report: Donovan Mitchell Didn’t Have Great Confidence In JB Bickerstaff, Whose Job Is In Serious Jeopardy

According to NBA insiders Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Donovan Mitchell didn’t have great confidence in Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff, whose job is in serious jeopardy.

Donovan Mitchell, JB Bickerstaff, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, Cavs

The Cavaliers lost to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2024 playoffs in five games.

Mitchell missed Games 4 and 5 with a left calf injury. 

“League sources briefed on the Cavaliers’ mindset told The Athletic that Bickerstaff’s job is in serious jeopardy after five and a half years as head coach, following the team’s season-ending loss in Game 5 of the second round to the Celtics,” Charania, Vardon and Lloyd wrote. “Two league sources said the team is likely to take some time — multiple days — to make a decision. … Multiple league sources have said, for months, that Mitchell did not have great confidence in Bickerstaff, and he was not alone.

“Several players questioned Bickerstaff’s strategies, game management, practice habits and accountability measures, privately and publicly, throughout the season.”

The Cavaliers almost fired Bickerstaff during the regular season, sources told Hoops Wire.

Bickerstaff is 170-159 in the regular season and 6-11 in the playoffs with Cleveland. 

“No one has told me I’m not (the coach), so I’ll keep showing up until they tell me not to,” Bickerstaff said when asked about his job status after Wednesday’s loss. “We’ve continued to build this thing the right way. Every single year we’ve improved, continued to get better. Play-In, playoffs.”

Cavaliers president Koby Altman admonished Bickerstaff in front of his entire staff for playing Mitchell heavy minutes against the Houston Rockets on December 18. 

Mitchell can sign an extension for up to four years and around $200 million this offseason. He has a player option worth $37 million for the 2025-26 season.

One of the top scorers in the NBA, Mitchell can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2025 if he declines that player option. 

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  1. Dear Kobi Altman, hope you read this..

    It’s not just Donavan Mitchell. For years, the basketball world has not had confidence in JB Bickerstaff. Why are you asleep on this?

    We wasted another year of not-good will toward the betterment of the franchise. This could have been a tremendous year for growth of Mobley, Garland, Okoro, and team identity. Instead, we kept the coach that was glaringly a bad choice LAST year, and gave him another year for the “development” of the team.

    Quite the opposite. The regression of the team. The killing of their confidence, partially in their own game, and partially in the competency of this franchise.

    This Bickestaff / Altman combination is a joke. Where is the basketball? Where is the focus on detail each and every game? The agenda’s and goals of this franchise is so clearly not just winning basketball games. It’s echoed in every move we make on and off the court.

    And it’s sad. A lot of lifelong fans questioning why we do this every year, just to be fed the same thing over and over. The lack of responsiveness to changes needed is what destroys people’s confidence (players and fans) in this team. And it’s why winners are hesitating to put their future careers in the hands of these people here. Players and fans BOTH see how bad this is. Only management does not

    Dan Gilbert if you’re reading..

    You’ve had this franchise 20-25 years. We had LeBron James for something like 10 of those years. We have one championship ring in that time. Without LeBron, we’ve shown zero track record for success under your ownership. Whatever you’re focusing on to run your business successfully is not aligning with the goals of the fans.. winning at all costs. That was supposed to be your selling point, remember? It’s not happening. Maybe time to turn over the ownership in a sale of some kind? Relinquish control? What do you think? Would you fire you?

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