Cavaliers reach multiyear deal with J.B. Bickerstaff to become permanent coach, per report

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had quite the season. There’s been locker room drama, including alleged racist comments by their former coach, open rebellion on the court from veterans such as Kevin Love, a shocking trade for Andre Drummond and plenty of losing, all of which led the team to part ways with John Beilein last month.

Since then, J.B. Bickerstaff has been serving as the team’s interim coach, and he’ll reportedly be sticking around much longer as the Cavs have reached a multiyear agreement to make him their permanent coach, according to Chris Fedor of 

At this point, however, further details are unclear. This was the third time in his career that Bickerstaff had been named interim coach. Early in the 2015-16 season, he took charge of the Houston Rockets after they fired Kevin McHale, and guided them to the playoffs before losing in the first round. He then moved on to Memphis, and after the team fired David Fizdale early in the 2016-17 season, he once again took charge. Following that season, the team announced him as their permanent coach, but fired him after just one full season in charge.

Bickerstaff joined the Cavaliers prior to the season, with the hope that his experience in the league could help Beilein make the transition to the NBA. “Having someone with J.B.’s level of experience join Coach Beilein, in partnership and leadership, to guide our team is something we are confident is an excellent addition for us,” Cavaliers GM Koby Altman said back in May. 

Obviously that didn’t go as planned. Beilein’s brief tenure was a disaster right from the beginning of training camp, as he struggled to adjust to the professional game. By the end of his time with the team, players were reportedly trolling him over his “thugs” comment, playing songs that featured the word any time he was around. 

Bickerstaff has not exactly been all that impressive in his few chances leading a team, but it’s not surprising that the Cavaliers want to go with a safe choice after their Beilein experiment failed so spectacularly. Plus, so far, the players seem to love their new coach. “It’s night and day,” one player told about the Bickerstaff era. “(Beilein) didn’t know how to talk to people. He couldn’t communicate.”

Considering their lack of talent, and how owner Dan Gilbert operates, we shouldn’t expect to see Bickerstaff there for the long haul; he’s the 10th head coach since Gilbert took over in 2005. For now, however, this move should stabilize things in Cleveland, and after how the first few months of the season went, that sounds pretty good. 

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