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

Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

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:

Coach Team Replaced

J.B. Bickerstaff


2019-20 Cleveland Cavaliers John Beilein
2017-18 Memphis Grizzlies David Fizdale

Randy Wittman


2011-12 Washington Wizards Flip Saunders
2006-07 Minnesota Timberwolves Dwane Casey

Alvin Gentry


2008-09 Phoenix Suns Terry Porter
1997-98 Detroit Pistons Doug Collins

Bob Hill


2005-06 Seattle SuperSonics Bob Weiss
1990-91 Indiana Pacers Dick Versace

Don Chaney


2001-02 New York Knicks Jeff Van Gundy
1984-85 Los Angeles Clippers Jim Lynam

Don Casey


1999 New Jersey Nets John Calipari
1989-90 Los Angeles Clippers Gene 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.