Report: Cavs hire J.B. Bickerstaff as associate head coach
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ rebuild continues in earnest this offseason. After hiring former Michigan head coach John Beilein to make the jump to the NBA, the Cavs are adding J.B. Bickerstaff to the team as the associate head coach:
Cleveland has hired JB Bickerstaff as associate head coach, league sources tell ESPN. Bickerstaff was a target of several teams, but Cavs were determined to pair him with John Beilein and made him one of league’s top paid assistants.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 19, 2019
Bickerstaff served as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies the past two seasons, accumulating a 48-97 record in 145 games. The Grizzlies went 33-49 this year despite trading Marc Gasol and losing rookie standout Jaren Jackson Jr. to injury in late February.
The 40-year-old has been in the NBA since the 2004-05 season, first serving as an assistant coach for the Charlotte Bobcats. He has since coached for the Timberwolves, Rockets and Grizzlies, with head coaching stints in Houston and Memphis.
Cleveland would have liked to welcome Beilein to town with Zion Williamson waiting in tow, but the Cavaliers fell to the No. 5 spot in the upcoming NBA Draft, which complicates their situation.
Although the team is reportedly high on Williamson’s teammate, RJ Barrett, the Cavs would likely have to trade into the top three just to have a chance at selecting Barrett, and the Grizzlies and Knicks do not seem like compatible trade partners.
If they miss out on Barrett, they may elect to draft a point guard — possibly Darius Garland out of Vanderbilt — and move Collin Sexton to the 2-guard. Wings like Jarrett Culver, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish could also be options at No. 5.
Regardless of what Cleveland’s offseason entails, Bickerstaff has garnered a reputation for his ability to work with young players, something the Cavs will need as they look to improve on a 19-win season.