NBA

Cleveland Cavaliers Fire J.B. Bickerstaff As Head Coach

May 23, 2024, 9:47 AM

Donovan-Mitchell-JB-Bickerstaff-Cleveland-Cavaliers...

Donovan Mitchell #45 listens to head coach J.B. Bickerstaff of the Cleveland Cavaliers of game one of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 20, 2024 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Magic 97-83. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Cleveland Cavaliers announced the dismissal of J.B. Bickerstaff as the team’s head coach following four full seasons on the job.

Cavs fire J.B. Bickerstaff as coach

The Cavs fired Bickerstaff on Thursday, May 23.

Cleveland was eliminated from the NBA Playoffs by the Boston Celtics on May 15. The Cavaliers fell to the Celtics in five games in a best-of-seven series in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

“J.B. is a well-respected NBA coach and an incredible human-being,” Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman said in a statement. “Over the past four years, he helped establish a culture that progressively drove players to become the best versions of themselves. Decisions like these are never easy, particularly when you look back at where this franchise rebuild started under his leadership. The NBA is a unique business that sometimes requires aggressive risk-taking to move a franchise forward and ultimately compete for championships. We owe a ton of gratitude for everything J.B. has contributed to the Cavaliers and his engagement in the Cleveland community. We wish J.B., his wife Nikki and their three children the best in their future endeavors.”

Bickerstaff first joined the Cavaliers as an associate head coach under John Beilein in 2019. Midway through his first season with the team, Beilein resigned and Bickerstaff was promoted to head coach.

Before coaching the Cavs, Bickerstaff served as head coach of the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies.

The Denver, Colorado native led the Rockets to the postseason in his only year as their head coach. The Grizzlies failed to reach the playoffs during Bickerstaff’s tenure. However, the Cavaliers reached the postseason in back-to-back years under Bickerstaff before his firing.

Bickerstaff owns a career head coaching record of 255-290, including 7-15 in the NBA Playoffs.

Before falling to the Celtics in the second round, Cleveland defeated the Orlando Magic in seven games in the opening round of the playoffs. The Cavaliers earned the No. 4 seed in the East after posting a 48-34 record in the regular season.

According to ESPN.com, six Cavaliers are free agents this offseason, Isaac Okoro (restricted), Damian Jones, Tristan Thompson, Isaiah Mobley (restricted), Emoni Bates (restricted), and Pete Nance (restricted).

Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell has two years left on his current contract with the team, including a player option for the final season. The former Utah Jazz guard is eligible to sign up to a four-year extension worth $200.4 million with the Cavaliers this summer.

Cleveland also owns the No. 20 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Kyle Ireland is an insider for Utah’s NHL team for KSLSports.com. Follow him on X (@kyleireland), Threads (@kyleirelandksl), and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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Cleveland Cavaliers Fire J.B. Bickerstaff As Head Coach