Cavaliers GM Koby Altman does not expect major roster changes after firing J.B. Bickerstaff

Donovan Mitchell could change everything, however

The Cleveland Cavaliers began what could be an offseason full of changes after firing head coach J.B. Bickerstaff on Thursday. The team's progress had plateaued under Bickerstaff, according to general manager Koby Altman.

Yet Altman told reporters Friday that he likes the Cavs' core of talent and wants to keep it together.

"I don’t see big major sweeping changes. I just don’t," Altman said, via "Like I said, more data speaks to [how] this works than it doesn’t. You can’t win 99 games over the regular season, make it to a conference semis and be like, this doesn’t work. Again, this just year two of this iteration of this core being together and I have a lot of excitement for the future for this group and belief in this group."

However, Altman's intention to bring this group back with a new head coach could be derailed if star guard Donovan Mitchell decides that he doesn't want to stay in Cleveland and asks for a trade — either directly or indirectly by not agreeing to a contract.

Mitchell is under contract for one more season and has a $37 million player option for the 2025-26 season. If he wants a trade, the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers (according to Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer) are among the teams that would pursue a deal.

Altman said he couldn't discuss a new contract with Mitchell until he's eligible for a max extension in July (July 30, to be exact). But the Cavaliers can offer the five-time All-Star more money than any other team with a four-year, $200 million extension.

Based on exit interviews, Altman is confident that Mitchell wants to be a part of the Cavaliers' future and is excited about the team's direction. Dismissing Bickerstaff — who Mitchell had lost confidence in, according to The Athletic — likely helps that optimism, though Altman denied that Mitchell's contract situation factored into making a coaching change.

Mitchell's decision would also likely influence other roster decisions, notably whether or not he and point guard Darius Garland are a good fit together in Cleveland's backcourt. Failing to figure out a solution is likely one reason Bickerstaff was fired. Will a new coach be tasked with making that combination work?

According to Altman, the idea that Mitchell and Garland can't play together is "overblown."

"There’s way more data that speaks to it works than doesn’t," he said. "In the last two years combined, because they've been together for two years, there's a lot of data that we can look at. Over the last two years, including the playoffs, they're a net positive, +5 together on the floor."

Altman pointed to both players putting up excellent numbers in their first season together. Garland averaged 21.6 points and 7.8 assists while shooting 41% on three-pointers. Mitchell scored 28.3 points per game on 48% shooting (39% on 3s).

Why Garland's production declined in 2023-24 is something the next coach will have to figure out, unless the guard wants to be traded if Mitchell re-signs. Garland's agent, Rich Paul, didn't provide any clarity on that in an interview with Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes.

"There is not much to say," said Paul. "I think people have their own opinions of what works and what doesn't work."

Garland has four more seasons on the five-year, $193 million extension he signed in July 2022.

The Cavaliers also do not intend to trade center Jarrett Allen, Hoops Wire reports. Some in the organization were reportedly unhappy that Allen didn't do more to return to the lineup (such as taking a painkilling injection, according to The Athletic) after missing eight consecutive playoff games with a rib injury.

Allen and Evan Mobley appeared to be another awkward fit on the court. Mobley is also eligible to sign a contract extension this offseason, which led to speculation that Allen could be traded. As with Mitchell and Garland, the hope is that a new coach will utilize both big men better than Bickerstaff had.