Cavs may have to make a coaching change to re-sign Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell signing a long-term contract extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers could hinge on what the team does with head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Not even 24 hours after the Cleveland Cavaliers got eliminated from the NBA Playoffs, the rumor mill is buzzing about what lies ahead for the team and who will or won't be back next season.

Considering the looming status of five-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell, this is undoubtedly one of the most significant offseasons the franchise has ever faced and will have monumental long-term ramifications on Cleveland's direction, depending on the outcome.

Mitchell is entering the final season of the five-year, $163 million contract he signed as a member of the Utah Jazz in 2020 and is eligible for a four-year extension upwards of $200 million this summer. But his desire (or lack thereof) to sign a long-term pact with the Cavs remains unclear. Nevertheless, his attachment to Cleveland beyond the 2024-25 campaign could hinge on the team making a coaching change if recent reporting from Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic ($) is any indication.

Cavs may have to make a coaching change to re-sign Donovan Mitchell

Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff is under fire and potentially on the hot seat -- Charania and ESPN's senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski hinted that his future in Cleveland is murky at best in their reports from Wednesday. 

"The second guessing of Bickerstaff" began after the Cavs were trounced by the New York Knicks in five games in their first-round postseason matchup last year, Charania notes, and tensions only heightened this season. 

"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. They were also less than enthused by the Cavs’ offense last spring and into the first part of this season. Mitchell was among them," Charania adds, highlighting how players felt "so perplexed by the lack of structure and intensity in the workouts" led by their coach.

But Bickerstaff still has fans within the organization, making it a tricky situation. However, whatever happens to him this offseason may be connected to what Mitchell decides and his contractual standing with the Cavs, which is an unenviable position.

Moreover, it is even harder to envision a scenario where Bickerstaff returns next year after three of his best players (Mitchell, Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert) essentially quit on him in Game 5 on Wednesday, sitting out of a contest with their season on the line.

Bickerstaff has a 170-159 record across five seasons as the head coach for the Cavs, guiding them to 44 or more wins in three consecutive campaigns and two straight playoff appearances, winning a series for the first time since LeBron James left the team in 2018. Yet, that may not be enough to secure his job.