The Cleveland Cavaliers improved upon last season’s effort by making it to the second round of the playoffs in 2024. But the atmosphere surrounding the Cavs felt like one of doom and gloom following their five-game series defeat at the hands of the eventual champion Boston Celtics. In particular, Jarrett Allen, who was one of the team’s most consistent players amid an injury-ravaged 2023-24 campaign, didn’t seem to be in good graces with other members of the Cavs franchise after he missed his team’s final eight playoff games due to a rib injury.

Midseason pickup Marcus Morris Sr. said after the Cavs’ playoff exit that if he were in Allen’s position, he would have played through injury. And then in the aftermath of the 2024 NBA Finals, former Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff, who was relieved of his duties despite winning 99 games over the past two seasons, praised Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic for playing through pain, which seemed to be a veiled shot against Allen’s reluctance to put himself in harm’s way.

Nonetheless, Donovan Mitchell is not joining in what appears to be a team-up against Jarrett Allen. Instead, Mitchell defended his Cavs teammate by posting an Instagram story that conveys his point as well as a thousand words would have.

The Athletic, in the immediate aftermath of the Cavs’ second-round defeat, published an article that gave everyone a deeper insight on how things went behind the scenes for the team. Jarrett Allen’s reluctance to play through injury came up as a sore spot for some members of the Cavs organization, and it’s becoming clearer where these feelings of animosity originated.

Perhaps this fractured relationship between player and coach is what drove the Cavs to jettison JB Bickerstaff. Perhaps Donovan Mitchell’s Instagram story lends greater credence to the notion that he and Bickerstaff truly did not see eye-to-eye. Whatever the case may be, Allen should have a fresh start with the Cavs for the 2024-25 season as they look to improve yet again, this time under the tutelage of a new head coach.

Jarrett Allen was a warrior for the Cavs

The notion that Jarrett Allen may be soft for refusing to do whatever was required to play through injury in the playoffs is asinine. Allen was very much durable during the regular season. Having to play 82 games in the regular season has become more of a grind due to the faster pace of the game, with load management coming in to save the day, but there Allen was, suiting up in 77 games for the team, which was good for second-best on the team, only behind the 82-game iron man Georges Niang.

Niang may have played heavier minutes amid Evan Mobley’s injury, but Allen’s workload is much heavier than Niang’s, and he plays a much more important role on the team, having to set screens on every possession while serving as the backbone of the Cavs’ defense. Allen did all those things well while leading the team in total minutes during the regular season.

And then in the playoffs, there were stretches during the Cavs’ first-round matchup against the Orlando Magic where Jarrett Allen was, far and away, their best player on the court. Given the renaissance of the rim-protecting, rim-rolling big man thanks to how well the Mavericks utilized their Daniel Gafford-Dereck Lively II duo, the Cavs cannot afford to alienate Allen and encourage him to seek an exit.

At the very least, Donovan Mitchell is doing his part to make sure Allen feels valued, which should only be good thing especially as he looks to secure a huge extension to stay in Cleveland.