Report: J.B. Bickerstaff had ‘lengthy heart-to-heart’ with Caris LeVert about moving him to bench

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It took a little while, but lately, it’s appeared as though Cleveland Cavaliers wing Caris LeVert has finally arrived for the team.

It’s been a wild season for the 28-year-old. He started the campaign in the starting lineup, but after a few weeks, he and Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff decided to make a change.

LeVert was removed from the starting lineup after a November game against the Milwaukee Bucks in which he scored just two points on 1-for-5 shooting. He and Bickerstaff reportedly had a “lengthy heart-to-heart” after that game, and it led to LeVert’s move to the bench.

“In mid-November, following a loss in Milwaukee that led to a lengthy heart-to-heart in the visitor’s locker room, LeVert and Bickerstaff mutually agreed a move to the bench was best,” wrote Chris Fedor of “It would give him more freedom. It would keep him from hijacking offensive possessions designed for [Darius] Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley or Jarrett Allen — the four mainstays in the starting lineup. It would provide a little more roster balance and second-unit stability. That was the thinking anyway.”

Since then, the Cavs have still used LeVert as a starter on some occasions, but most of his appearances have come off the bench. It’s no secret that he’s been asked to check a lot of boxes for the team, and Bickerstaff seems very grateful for that.

“He’s one of the guys that goes unsung at times,” Bickerstaff said recently. “He’s been willing to take a different role for this team than who he’s been in the past. He defends multiple positions for us. He’ll rebound. He takes challenges. He just wants to help the team win.”

There’s no denying that LeVert’s season has had its fair share of ups and downs, but over his past five games, he has seemingly turned a corner. He’s averaging 18.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game during that span while shooting 54.1 percent from the field and 51.6 percent from beyond the arc.

His spike in production has come at a fantastic time for the Cavs, who are looking to build some momentum and solidify their rotation going into the playoffs. On top of those goals, Cleveland is battling for the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference, a seed that the team currently holds by 2.5 games.

LeVert’s stint with Cleveland hasn’t been perfect, but it has certainly been gritty. The former first-round pick would surely love nothing more than to add to his Cavs resume with a strong showing in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. He has a solid track record as an impressive playoff performer.

The Cavs will be back in action on Tuesday when they face the Brooklyn Nets on the road. On Thursday, those two teams will meet again at the same place.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and is very excited about the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers.