On Wednesday evening, Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers officially saw their 2023-24 season come to an end with a Game 5 loss to the Boston Celtics, concluding their Eastern Conference semifinals series in a gentleman’s sweep. Mitchell missed the last two games of this series due to injury, and although his Cavs teammates put up a solid effort in his absence, overall, it was likely that the Celtics were going to take this series pretty easily regardless of who was on the floor for Cleveland.

So begins a highly important offseason as for the future direction of the Cavs franchise. Mitchell has one more year left on his contract and the Cavs will have to make a decision as to whether they want to trade the star or keep him around and risk losing him for nothing.

If the latest reports are any indication, it seems that Mitchell has grown frustrated with some of his Cleveland teammates over the course of this past 2023-24 season.

Mitchell “grew frustrated with some teammates’ lack of maturity, focus, playoff-level readiness and a willingness to listen,” per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, via Mike Chiari of Bleacher Report.

For what it’s worth, Fedor also noted that Mitchell has “repeatedly mentioned how happy he is in Cleveland and how much he likes this situation,” but that that fact may not necessarily stop the Cavs from trading him should they have doubts about his willingness to sign a long-term contract with the franchise.

A failed experiment

When Donovan Mitchell was brought into Cleveland two offseasons ago via a trade with the Utah Jazz, the prospects of a backcourt duo featuring himself and Darius Garland were tantalizing, to say the very least. Garland had just finished leading the Cavs on an impressive upstart season that culminated in a loss in the Play-In game, and Mitchell had already established himself as one of the best shooting guards in the NBA.

While Mitchell has mostly held up his end of the bargain, Cavs youngsters like Garland and Evan Mobley (who did have a strong performance in Game 5 on Wednesday, for what it’s worth) have seem to hit a wall in their development, and the team’s overall lack of wing depth and supplementary scoring has proven their downfall in each of the last two postseasons, first to the New York Knicks in 2023 (in a series in which both Mitchell and Garland had horrible showings) and then again here in 2024 against the Celtics, albeit as huge underdogs.

It’s unclear at this point whether there is any scenario in which Mitchell and Garland could form a truly compatible backcourt duo for the Cavs, given their limitations on the defensive end as well as the apparent stall of Garland’s overall development. The team could also use some more depth at the forward positions, although Isaac Okoro did have an overall solid campaign this year.

In any case, the Cavs now have some huge decisions to make as the NBA Draft and free agency approach over the coming months.