Cleveland fires head coach J.B. Bickerstaff after another failed playoff run

Cavs decided to terminate J.B. Bickerstaff’s head coaching contract (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Cleveland Cavaliers just fired head coach J.B. Bickerstaff after serving as the franchise’s chief tactician for five seasons in the NBA.

It was Cleveland president of basketball operations Koby Altman who announced their first major off-season move on May 23, 2024.

“Decisions like these are never easy, particularly when you look back at where this franchise rebuild started under his leadership,” said Altman.

Despite a turnaround in the franchise after Bickerstaff’s arrival five years ago, the organization still pulled the trigger in terminating his contract and is yet to secure ties with other NBA teams.

Soon as Bickerstaff took over the head coaching duty for the Cavaliers, the team finally got over the hump and won their first playoff series since 2018 when they eliminated the Orlando Magic in the first round of this season’s ongoing NBA playoffs.

Last year, Cleveland had the chance to push further in the post-season but their hopes vanished when Jalen Brunson and the New York Knicks ousted them in the playoffs.

“We owe a ton of gratitude for everything J.B. has contributed to the Cavaliers and his engagement in the Cleveland community,” added Altman.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Cleveland is already considering Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson and New Orleans Pelicans associate coach James Borrego for the job.

Before reaching the playoffs this season, the Cavaliers finished fourth in the Eastern Conference with an impressive 48-34 win-loss record under the mentorship of Bickerstaff.

However, during the playoffs, Cleveland’s roster health status quickly became an issue after Jarrett Allen missed the last four games of their series against Orlando due to a rib injury.

To make things worse, Donovan Mitchell, their leading scorer and franchise player, failed to suit up in the remaining games of their Boston series due to another injury in his leg.


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