Cavaliers News: No Ice for Okoro, season predictions

Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images /

October 24th.

It’s an auspicious date to be sure. On October 24, 1945, the United Nations officially came into existence. In 2004 Arsenal finally lost on October 24th, ending a record run of 49 unbeaten matches. Current NBA players Jaylen Brown, Nikola Vucevic and Garrison Mathews were born on October 24th.

October 24, 2023 may be the most important of them all, however, as it’s the day that the 2023-24 NBA season begins.

Opening Night will see the defending champion Denver Nuggets host LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers before Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors bring Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns to town. The season begins the following night for most of the rest of the league, including a Cleveland Cavaliers showdown with the Brooklyn Nets in New York. With stars changing teams, all-time players geared up for one final run and young talent waiting in the wings, this season should be amazing.

What else happens on October 24th? Well, it’s a Tuesday, so that means it’s time for the next edition of Cavaliers News!

No extension for Isaac Okoro

Monday night was the deadline for players from the 2020 Draft to sign rookie extensions. It was a busy day, with players from Deni Avdija to Jaden McDaniels inking new deals. Isaac Okoro, the fifth pick in the 2020 draft, did not come to an agreement with the Cavaliers on a new contract.

That means Okoro will become a restricted free agent next summer. That puts Cleveland in the driver’s seat to bring him back if they so desire, or gives them the flexibility to move on if they are more comfortable with a different player to replace him. By not signing an extension the Cavs also have more flexibility to trade Okoro this season.

For Okoro, the pressure will be on to show more offensive growth. His defense is unquestioned, but he doesn’t create offense for himself and doesn’t make defenses pay for leaving him wide open on the perimeter. He will have the smallest role of his career to start the season; can he prove himself worth a big payday next summer? It will be a fascinating storyline to watch all season long.

Is Mobley ready for more?

Another storyline to watch during the early part of the season is whether Evan Mobley is ready for a step forward on offense. He was a Defensive Player of the Year finalist last season as a second-year player, but for him to take another leap it probably means an offensive explosion. He hasn’t shown any evidence of improving as a shooter over the summer, so any step forward likely involves playmaking and interior scoring.

One option in the Cavs’ new movement offense is to have Mobley handle the ball more at the elbow. He can run dribble handoff actions with shooters like Max Strus, he can hit cutters moving behind the defense, and he can attack slow or crowding defenders by putting the ball on the floor and driving to the rim. A recent piece by Bleacher Report suggests that moving the ball from Donovan Mitchell’s hands to Mobley’s would help the Cavs’ ceiling.

The Early Season Schedule

The Cavaliers’ season kicks off tomorrow, when they face the Brooklyn Nets on the road. From there, however, nine of their next 19 games are against Western Conference teams, the most interconference matchups of any team in the league in the first quarter of the season. That includes both matchups for the season with the Warriors, Thunder and Trail Blazers. John Schumann of provided that detail and many others on the Cavs and other teams’ schedules this season.

Our own Caleb Crowley wrote on things to watch in the Cavaliers’ opening week, highlighting a rotational question and a systemic one.

Enough with the same trade idea

One of the most interesting types of articles to write about the NBA are those exploring fake trades. Finding deals that work is harder than it looks, and it’s important work because NBA teams are making more trades than ever. Identifying which players a team may be interested in and what assets they would move in exchange is a worthwhile, fascinating and exciting endeavor.

Except, of course, when you fail to put in any work and just keep discussing the same possibility again and again. Bleacher Report runs a “one trade for every team” type of article each month, but they seem to be stuck in quicksand when it comes to the Cavaliers. Their most recent such piece saw the Cavs once again trading for Dorian Finney-Smith. While that’s a possibility, there are many more trade idea out there – be better, Bleacher Report! At least Bill Simmons’ trade idea was interesting.

New-look Cavaliers offense

One of the top storylines for the Cavaliers this preseason is their new-look offense, which is trying to be both faster and less dependent on the pick-and-roll in the halfcourt. Izzy Sy breaks down why the Cleveland offense should be even better this season.

Replacing Jarrett Allen

Jarrett Allen is looking like he will miss the first couple of games of the regular season. If he is out, who should start in his place? Josh Cornelissen hits on some options and makes his pick.

What to Read

Here are pieces on the Cavaliers from the past week that you should read:

What’s Next?

The Cleveland Cavaliers open the season in Brooklyn to take on Mikal Bridges and the Nets. The game tips off at 7:30 PM ET and can be watched on NBA League Pass, Bally Sports Ohio and the YES Network.