Cavs give J.B. Bickerstaff muti-year deal to be head coach

Cleveland is 5-5 since Bickerstaff took over at the All Star break

Daryl Ruiter
March 10, 2020 - 4:50 pm
Memphis Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff yells from the sidelines during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena.

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Cavaliers kept their word and took care of new head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

Bickerstaff replaced John Beilein, who abruptly resigned after just 54 games on the job, last month.

General manager Koby Altman named Beilein head coach when Beilein stepped down, making clear the interim tag would not apply to Bickerstaff but there were details in his contract that needed to be worked out.

That was completed Tuesday, hours before the Cavs played the Bulls in Chicago.

“We are very fortunate to have someone of J.B.’s caliber and basketball pedigree lead our franchise as head coach,” Altman said. “His wealth of experience, coupled with the respect he has garnered around the NBA and with this team, has made for a seamless transition from associate head coach to head coach. The amount of grit and determination instilled in our players, from both an accountability and attention to detail standpoint over this short period of time, has been met with admiration, respect and overall excitement throughout our entire locker room.

“We have already observed the impact he has made on our players through his first 10 games as head coach and we are looking forward to seeing just how far he can effectively drive our developing culture and lead this franchise into the future.”

Since the coaching change the Cavs are 5-5, are out of the Eastern conference cellar and have shown marked improvement.

Bickerstaff was originally hired to serve as Beilein’s associate head coach and was going to be his successor. The plan wasn’t for it to be this soon after the 67-year old Beilein resigned on Feb. 19 with the team 14-40.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am for this opportunity to lead the Cavaliers and our promising and enthusiastic group of players that has been assembled here in Cleveland,” Bickerstaff said. “I want to thank Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman for having the trust and faith in my ability to coach this team, but also allowing me the freedom and endless resources to assist in creating a sustainable culture of winning and professional growth.

“Our players have done a phenomenal job of maintaining a high level of professionalism and growing maturity, of which I have been very appreciative. I also take great pride and consider it an honor and privilege to live and coach in this community with my family, in front of this fan base and for this franchise. It has truly been a blessing and I look forward to the journey ahead.”

Bickerstaff served as an interim head coach in Houston and Memphis prior to coming to Cleveland. His father, Bernie, was a longtime NBA coach.

Bickerstaff led the Rockets to the playoffs after coaching the remaining 71 games of the 2015-16 season. He was 15-48 after taking over the Grizzlies during the 2017-18 campaign after serving two years as associate head coach. Memphis went 33-49 under him as head coach last season.