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Cavs coach lost locker room well before playoffs: report

The Cavaliers’ locker room was a mess heading into Boston in the second round of the playoffs and head coach JB Bickerstaff’s methods are looking for the cause.

He lost the respect of the locker room and veteran players just three months into the season, according to a report from Athleticism.

“But Bickerstaff’s tenure has been mired by post-All-Star slumps in 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 bounced by the New York Knicks in five games.

“Bickerstaff’s second hypothesis began there. Several veterans in the Cavs locker room became frustrated with Bickerstaff who treated the Cavs like a young team with a lot to learn, rather than a team ready to fight. They also weren’t excited about the Cavs’ offense last spring and in the first part of this season. (Donovan) Mitchell was among them. Players would leave practices and morning shootarounds wondering aloud, “Why did we do that?” What have we accomplished” – so perplexed by the lack of structure and intensity of the workouts.

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

“Several other players, privately and publicly, have questioned Bickerstaff’s tactics, rotations, minute allocations, schemes, game management, adjustments and practice habits at various times,” Cleveland.com Chris Fedor wrote. “There are questions about whether he can help take this franchise to the 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?

Fedor also confirmed what many have long suspected: the breakdown of Bickerstaff and Donovan Mitchell’s relationship.

“There have also been rumors of a deteriorating relationship between Bickerstaff and Mitchell – and with Mitchell’s contract situation looming this offseason, it’s fair to wonder how much that might influence Cleveland’s decision “said Fyodor.

It’s safe to say that Bickerstaff’s job is indeed in jeopardy this offseason.

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