3 big changes Cleveland Cavaliers will likely make if this season falls short

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images /
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The Cleveland Cavaliers had a surprisingly accelerated rebuild after the emergence of two young stars in Darius Garland and Evan Mobley.

With Jarrett Allen anchoring the defense, Mobley and Garland have been free to push their development alongside the unwavering effort of Allen. After doubling their win totals from 22 wins in 2020-21 up to 44 in the 2021-22 season, the Cavs were clearly preparing to make a major step forward in the NBA. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers were unable to make it through the Play-In Tournament, losing both games against the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks.

Following the Play-In disappointment, Cleveland made a franchise-changing trade in September 2022, acquiring perennial All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz. In return, the Cavs sent Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps back to Utah. With such a massive haul, there was no turning back for the Cavs. It became a race to contention rather than a progressive rebuild.

Once again, though, as the Cavaliers took a step forward, they found another hurdle. In the 2023 Playoffs, the Cavs entered the first round with homecourt advantage as the fourth seed, taking on the fifth-seeded New York Knicks. While Cleveland’s defense maintained its dominance, their offense severely dissipated, leading to a short five-game series that sent the Cavaliers to an early vacation.

With Mitchell’s contract extension looming, the Cavaliers spent their free agency adding long range shooting and overall depth to their ranks. The primary acquisitions, Max Strus and Georges Niang, should alleviate Cleveland’s struggles on the perimeter. On paper, the changes to Cleveland’s roster could elevate them past their latest shortcoming. In practice, though, these additions will only take the Cavs into contention if the rest of the roster and coaching staff can continue to improve and take the necessary steps.

If the Cleveland Cavaliers have another disappointing season, Chris Fedor suggested there will be significant changes in personnel in a recent interview with Zach Lowe on The Lowe Post podcast.

In a worst-case scenario of another failed season, these three changes would be no surprise to come to fruition in Cleveland.

Let’s begin with the first potential change, involving the coaching staff in that case.