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    Written by DafaNews

    Cavaliers Face Uncertainty After Playoff Exit; Coach Bickerstaff and Star Donovan Mitchell’s Futures in Question

    May 17, 2024

    After a season-ending 113-98 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff expressed his desire to remain at the helm, despite the team’s recent setbacks.

    “Yeah,” Bickerstaff confirmed during his postgame news conference when asked if he wanted to continue as head coach. “We have continued to build this thing the right way. Every single year we’ve improved, continued to get better, play-in, playoffs, win a round … players have gotten better. Guys have had great years.

    “This is definitely a place I want to be.”

    When questioned about his expectations regarding his future with the team, Bickerstaff laughed and said, “I mean, no one’s told me I’m not. So, I’ll keep showing up ’til they tell me not to.”

    Despite the confidence Bickerstaff exudes, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Cavaliers plan to take some time to evaluate Bickerstaff’s future, though the organization remains fond of him. Bickerstaff has led the Cavaliers for four-plus seasons, guiding them to back-to-back playoff berths, including a first-round victory over the Orlando Magic this year—the franchise’s first playoff series win since 2018 and the first without LeBron James since 1993.

    However, the Cavaliers’ future extends beyond Bickerstaff’s tenure. The more pressing question concerns the future of star guard Donovan Mitchell, who sat out Game 5 with a left calf strain that also kept him out of Game 4. Mitchell, who joined the Cavaliers 18 months ago in a blockbuster trade involving Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, and several future first-round picks, has delivered back-to-back All-Star seasons in Cleveland and was instrumental in the playoffs before his injury. He became the second Cavalier—after James—to score at least 25 points in six consecutive playoff games.

    Mitchell now faces a pivotal decision about his commitment to Cleveland, with one year remaining on his contract before a player option for the 2025-26 season. ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted that Mitchell could sign a four-year, $208 million extension with the Cavaliers. Mitchell did not speak to the media after Game 5 due to his injury.

    Addressing the situation surrounding Mitchell, Bickerstaff highlighted the positive environment the Cavaliers have built. “We’ve got a good team,” Bickerstaff said. “We’ve got good individual players, we have high-character players that are concerned about winning. And anytime you have that, you’re gonna give yourself an opportunity.

    “I would love to see what we look like when we’re whole for an entire season, what pressure we can put on the league from that standpoint. But we’ve got a good basketball team, guys who want to win and guys who want to get better.”

    Health issues plagued Cleveland throughout the playoffs, with Mitchell missing the final two games and starting center Jarrett Allen missing the last eight with a bruised rib. During the regular season, Cleveland’s core quartet of Mitchell, Allen, Darius Garland, and Evan Mobley played only 28 games together, managing to outscore opponents by just 2.2 points per 100 possessions in the 392 minutes they shared the court.

    The fit between Mitchell and Garland in the backcourt, and particularly Mobley and Allen—two non-shooting big men—in the frontcourt was often clunky. Despite these challenges, Mobley had an impressive series with Allen sidelined, including a standout 33-point performance in Game 5. Garland had a mixed series, scoring 30 points in Game 4 but finishing with just 11 points and 9 assists in Game 5, as LeBron James and their shared agent, Rich Paul, watched from courtside.

    Reflecting on the season, Garland acknowledged the team’s progress but also the adversity faced. “We take a leap every year, so hopefully next year we take another leap,” Garland said. “Hopefully we’ll be in the Eastern Conference finals fully healthy and just take another leap. Definitely came a long way from when I was drafted. I went from 19 wins to being in the semifinals of the conference, so I’ll take it, just to keep getting better and better every year.”

    As the Cavaliers head into the offseason, they must address significant questions about their direction, including the futures of both their head coach and star player. The team’s performance, health issues, and roster fit will all be critical considerations as Cleveland aims to build on this season’s progress and strive for greater success in the future.

    About the Author

    Written by DafaNews

    DafaNews brings you the most highlighted news in the world of Sports. It serves you up-to-date matches, scores, live streams, fantasy games and quizzes. Our news covers prestigious leagues and events – Premier League, Champions League, World Cup and many more.

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