Cavs Coach Lost Locker Room Well Before Playoffs: Report

Coach Cavs

The Cavaliers locker room was a mess way before going down to Boston in the second round of the playoffs and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s methods look to the cause.

He lost the respect of the locker room and veteran players barely three months into the season according to a report from The Athletic.

“But Bickerstaff’s tenure was mired by post-All-Star break slumps each of the last three years and a Play-In collapse in 2022,” the outlet said. “Last year, the Cavs entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed and were dismissed by the New York Knicks in five games.

“The second guessing of Bickerstaff started there. 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. [Donovan] Mitchell was among them. Players would leave practices and morning shootarounds wondering aloud: ‘Why did we even do that? What did we accomplish’ — so perplexed by the lack of structure and intensity in the workouts.”

Another source compared Bickerstaff to former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown, who never made it past the second round in Philly with a young Joel Embiid.

“Several other players, privately and publicly, have questioned Bickerstaff’s tactics, rotations, minute allocation, schemes, in-game management, adjustments and practice habits at various points,” Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor wrote. “There is wonder about whether he can help take this franchise to next level, with one source using a comparison to former 76ers coach Brett Brown, who led Philadelphia through The Process but was ultimately replaced by Doc Rivers. Is Bickerstaff the right coach for this team?”

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Fedor also confirmed what many have suspected for a long time – the breakdown of Bickerstaff and Donovan Mitchell’s relationship.

“There have also been whispers about a deteriorating relationship between Bickerstaff and Mitchell — and with Mitchell’s contract situation looming over this offseason, it’s fair to wonder how much that could influence Cleveland’s decision,” Fedor said.

Safe to say, Bickerstaff’s job is well and truly in jeopardy this offseason.

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