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Report: Lindsay Gottlieb leaving Cavaliers to become USC women’s basketball coach

Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 26: Assistant Coach, Lindsay Gottlieb of the Cleveland Cavaliers helps the players warm up before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 26, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Cavaliers made history by hiring Lindsay Gottlieb – then the head coach of the Cal women’s basketball team – as an assistant coach in 2019.

Initially hired under John Beilein, Gottlieb stuck in Cleveland as J.B. Bickerstaff replaced Beilein. She even got promoted to the front of the bench.

But now she’s returning to women’s college basketball.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Cleveland Cavaliers assistant Lindsay Gottlieb has agreed to a six-year contract to become the women’s head coach at USC, sources told ESPN.

Gottlieb leaves the NBA after an aggressive USC pursuit to bring her back to the Pac-12 Conference, including a massive upgrade in program salary and resources with hopes of restoring USC to the elite of women’s college basketball, sources said.

Gottlieb will remain with the Cavaliers for the final four games of the regular season before leaving for USC, sources said.

The pipeline between female NBA assistants and women’s college basketball coaches flows in both directions. Gottlieb has proven to be a strong women’s college basketball coach and is landing a premier job on that level.

She might also be escaping a sinking ship.

Bickerstaff is 26-53 with the Cavs, including 21-47 this season. Though he is not the main source of Cleveland’s problems, he hasn’t proven to be a solution, either. Losing coaches generally get little leeway, and if the head coach gets fired, the staff has little security.