The Cleveland Cavaliers won’t wait until the offseason to select their next head coach, they already found him as they have agreed with interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff on a four-year contract extension, according to The Athletic’s Kelsey Russo.
Bickerstaff, 41, started the 2019-2020 season as an associate head coach on former Cavs’ head coach John Beilein’s staff, and took over as interim head coach when the team and Belien parted ways earlier this season.
Bickerstaff, who had spent two seasons as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, impressed many with his 10-game start at the helm of the team, going 5-5 during that time, and the team has responded postively to the change to Bickerstaff.
According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, and unnamed Cavaliers’ players said that the change has been “night and day” going from Beilein to Bickerstaff: “[Beilein] didn’t know how to talk to people. He couldn’t communicate.”
Cleveland posted a 14-40 record while Beilein was at the helm.
“We are very fortunate to have someone of J.B.’s caliber and basketball pedigree lead our franchise as head coach,” said Cavs’ general manager Koby Altman (h/t ESPN). “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.”
“Our players have done a phenomenal job of maintaining a high level of professionalism and growing maturity, of which I have been very appreciative,” Bickerstaff said. “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.”