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Report: Cavaliers agree to multi-year contract with coach J.B. Bickerstaff

Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 28: Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half at the Smoothie King Center on February 28, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

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The Cavaliers were 14-40 when John Beilein resigned. Since J.B. Bickerstaff took over, Cleveland has gone 5-5.

Too small of a sample to draw seeping conclusions? Absolutely.

But considering the Cavs were already planning to keep Bickerstaff next season, this stretch makes it even easier to lock him in.

Chris Fedor of

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Bickerstaff, who previously coached the Grizzlies, sure has a way of getting jobs. Bickerstaff took over after Memphis fired David Fizdale then stayed on the following season.

Assuming nothing falls through between now and the start of next season, Bickerstaff would become the sixth coach in NBA history who got multiple non-interim head-coaching jobs after getting promoted from being an assistant during the prior season:


J.B. Bickerstaff

2019-20 Cleveland CavaliersJohn Beilein
2017-18 Memphis GrizzliesDavid Fizdale

Randy Wittman

2011-12 Washington WizardsFlip Saunders
2006-07 Minnesota TimberwolvesDwane Casey

Alvin Gentry

2008-09 Phoenix SunsTerry Porter
1997-98 Detroit PistonsDoug Collins

Bob Hill

2005-06 Seattle SuperSonicsBob Weiss
1990-91 Indiana PacersDick Versace

Don Chaney

2001-02 New York KnicksJeff Van Gundy
1984-85 Los Angeles ClippersJim Lynam

Don Casey

1999 New Jersey NetsJohn Calipari
1989-90 Los Angeles ClippersGene Shue

There’s often an energy boost after an in-season coaching change. That’s particular true with the departure of an unpopular coach like Beilein. Any decent replacement would look good by comparison.

Bickerstaff is at least that. He’s far better versed in the NBA. He looks like a potentially fine NBA head coach. As he gains experience, he’ll probably get even better.

But Bickerstaff didn’t distinguish himself with the Grizzlies. In Cleveland, his best attribute is not being Beilein.

I wouldn’t forgo a coaching search for Bickerstaff. I definitely wouldn’t rush to lock in for multiple years.

This how the Cavs operate, though. It’s why they often end up paying multiple coaches simultaneously. They make big commitments to marginal coaches then move on before their contracts end.

Bickerstaff absolutely has a chance to stick. We just haven’t seen enough to be confident in his ability.

His biggest task will be developing young players like Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr. and Darius Garland. Bickerstaff will also have to satisfy owner Dan Gilbert with a team not close to winning. It’s not an easy job.

But it’s one of 30, and Bickerstaff has it.