J.B. Bickerstaff was fired by the Cavaliers after 4 full seasons

The New York Times

The Cleveland Cavaliers dismissed J.B. Bickerstaff as their coach after 4 1/2 seasons, three postseason appearances and 170 regular-season wins with him at the helm.
Bickerstaff, 45, guided the Cavs to their first playoff series victory since 2018 and their first without LeBron James on the roster since 1993.
Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and New Orleans assistant James Borrego — both with head-coaching experience — are considered leading candidates to replace Bickerstaff, according to league sources.
The firing came eight days after the Cavs were bounced from the second round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.
Fairly or not, those players questioned Bickerstaff’s strategies, game management, practice habits and accountability measures, privately and publicly, throughout the season.
Last season, Cleveland was a No.
Bickerstaff, 45, coached his last game without Mitchell, Jarrett Allen or Caris LeVert in uniform — three key players who were nursing nagging injuries.
Required reading Cavs oust J.B. Bickerstaff, a good man who had players’ backs even if they didn’t have his What’s next for Donovan Mitchell, J.B. Bickerstaff, Darius Garland and the Cavs?

POSITIVE

J was dismissed by the Cleveland Cavaliers. B. bickerstaff as their coach following four and a half seasons, three postseason trips, and 170 victories during the regular season.

The 45-year-old Bickerstaff led the Cavs to their first playoff series win since 2018 and their first since 1993 when LeBron James was not on the team. His contract has two years and about $10 million left on it.

League sources claim that James Borrego of New Orleans and Kenny Atkinson of the Golden State Warriors, both with head coaching experience, are front-runners to succeed Bickerstaff.

Just eight days had passed since the Boston Celtics eliminated the Cavaliers from the second round of the playoffs. The Athletic first reported that Bickerstaff’s job in Cleveland was “seriously jeopardized” following the series-clinching Game 5 loss. “.

Despite Bickerstaff’s improvements with Cleveland, his teams struggled in each of the last three seasons following the All-Star break. Furthermore, and maybe most significantly, for the majority of the season, multiple league sources have stated that players like Cavs star Donovan Mitchell did not have a lot of faith in Bickerstaff as the team’s long-term coach.

As the season progressed, those players, more often than not, questioned Bickerstaff’s tactics, game management, practice routines, and accountability protocols. Bickerstaff was under constant pressure from across the organization to persuade Mitchell to accept a four-year, $208 million extension, and he had to oversee a roster beset by injured players missing games.

After Bickerstaff took over for John Beilein with just 11 games remaining before the league closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19, Cleveland was headed for the worst record in the NBA over a three-year period. Despite losing both games and missing the playoffs, the Cavs made a comeback to the postseason in 2022 as a Play-In Tournament team.

Cleveland ranked No. 1 the previous season. the fourth-seeded team, but the New York Knicks upset it in five games during the first round. As the fourth seed in the conference semifinals this year, the Cavs defeated the Orlando Magic in seven games before falling to the Celtics in five games.

In his final game as coach, Bickerstaff, 45, did not have Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, or Mitchell in the lineup due to persistent injuries. His final record as Cleveland’s coach was 170-159.

The team’s bad start had Bickerstaff on the verge of being fired around Thanksgiving, according to league sources. Additionally, he was chastised by team president Koby Altman in front of his entire coaching staff for giving Mitchell excessive playing time during an overtime victory over the Houston Rockets in December when Evan Mobley and Darius Garland were sidelined.

When it was announced that Garland and Mobley would miss up to two months due to injuries, Cleveland was 13–12. Bickerstaff might have been doomed to ruin forever in their absence. Rather, he produced some of his best work as the Cavaliers won an NBA-high 22 games between mid-December and the All-Star break, sparking the team’s effort to elect Bickerstaff as NBA Coach of the Year (he received one vote in third place).

But Cleveland lost ground in the latter stages, just as it had in Bickerstaff’s first two complete seasons. After the break, they had a 12–17 record, which included some horrific losses. His teammates anticipated that, barring a miraculous comeback against Boston in the second round, he would be fired at the end of the campaign.

In terms of statistics, Mitchell’s two best professional seasons have been with the Cavaliers. This season, the 27-year-old averaged 26 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds per game, which helped him make his fifth consecutive All-Star team. Due to a persistent bone bruise in his left knee, he was unable to play for the majority of the second half of the season.

Early in March, a platelet-rich plasma injection and several absences were necessary due to the injury. Mitchell appeared to be limping at times while playing. A left calf strain kept him out of the final two games against the Celtics, the final two of Bickerstaff’s Cleveland career, and he finished the playoffs in street clothes.

Reading requirements.

Cavs eliminate J. A. Good man Bickerstaff always had the players’ backs, even when they didn’t have his.

What is next in store for J. Donovan Mitchell? A. Darius Garland and the Cavs, along with Bickerstaff?

The past, present, and future of the Cavaliers with LeBron James and Donovan Mitchell.

(Image courtesy of Jason Miller/Getty Images).

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