During a podcast appearance, Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor revealed that the Cleveland Cavaliers will make changes if they don’t get through the first round of the playoffs this season.
Fedor explained why this is such a big season for the Cavs and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff during a conversation with ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
“It’s a big, big, big season for J.B.,” Fedor said. “I think it’s a big season for the organization as a whole, but J.B. specifically. And if…they do not get out of the first round of the playoffs — if they do not take another step as an organization given everything that they’ve invested into this roster, given all the resources that they gave up in order to get Donovan Mitchell — changes are going to happen.
“I don’t know what those look like. I don’t know what that is ultimately going to mean. There are a lot of factors in play. But a first-round playoff exit will not be tolerated.”
The Cavs earned the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference last season, making the playoffs for the first time since LeBron James left the franchise to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers after the 2017-18 season.
Unfortunately, Cleveland was unable to do much in the 2023 postseason, losing to the New York Knicks in five games. The Cavs had home-court advantage against the Knicks, but they lost Games 1 and 5 in Cleveland. New York ended up losing to the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs.
Clearly, Fedor believes that the team has to be better in the 2023-24 season in order to avoid changes.
The Cavs traded for Mitchell to attempt to contend for a title, but the guard could leave the team after the 2024-25 season. Mitchell has a player option for the 2025-26 campaign.
If Cleveland doesn’t take a leap this season, it might make sense to move on from Mitchell if he doesn’t indicate that he’s willing to remain with the franchise for the long haul.
The Cavs have a solid young core with Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, but the team needs to know if that group is good enough to compete with some of the top teams in the East in the playoffs.
Hopefully for Cavs fans, the team will be able to make a playoff run in the 2023-24 season so the front office doesn’t feel the need to make massive changes next offseason.