Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly ‘frustrated’ by J.B. Bickerstaff’s treatment of players

Cleveland Cavaliers' J.B. Bickerstaff, Donovan Mitchell
Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming off a five-game defeat at the hands of the Boston Celtics in this year’s NBA Playoffs.

It represented Cleveland’s first trip to the Eastern Conference Semifinals without LeBron James since all the way back in 1992-93.

Most figured head coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s job would be safe. But immediately after being eliminated on Wednesday, reports surfaced that Cleveland’s brass is considering making a coaching change.

“After an Eastern Conference semifinal loss to Celtics with short-handed lineup, Cavaliers plan to take time to evaluate coach JB Bickerstaff’s future, but organization remains fond of him and marketplace is sparse of proven candidates. There will be a lot of conversations on different ways to proceed for a franchise that reached Eastern semis for first time since 2018.”

Shams Charania on J.B. Bickerstaff and his future with the Cleveland Cavaliers

Bickerstaff has coached the Cavaliers since taking over on an interim basis back in 2019-20. He’s led the team to a 170-159 record with two playoff appearances. The backdrop here are continued rumors about the futures of star guards Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland in Cleveland.

It’s surprising after a pretty successful season. With that said, we’re now hearing more about potential drama behind the scenes that could ultimately lead to Bickerstaff’s departure.

Related: 3 moves the Cleveland Cavaliers must make this summer

Cleveland Cavaliers veterans frustrated by treatment from J.B. Bickerstaff

J.B. Bickerstaff, Cleveland Cavaliers
Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

“Multiple veterans in the Cavs locker room grew frustrated with Bickerstaff for treating the Cavs as a young team with much to learn, instead of as a team ready to contend,” The Athletic reported.

It really isn’t too hard to read between the lines. Cleveland’s core group consists of veterans such as the aforementioned Mitchell and Garland as well as big man Jarrett Allen. Sure, they have some young players. But it’s the veterans that did most of the work to get Cleveland to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

If the Cavaliers’ brass is really intent on keeping Mitchell long-term, a coaching change might have to be in the cards. Yet, that might not do the trick. The All-Star guard is said to be eyeing a larger market on a team with true championship aspirations. At this point, Cleveland fits neither criteria.

It’s going to be incredibly interesting to see what happens in the coming weeks and months in Cleveland. Does the team blow it up completely or look to run it back with this same core group while replacing Bickerstaff? Time will tell on that front.

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