Cavaliers fire head coach JB Bickerstaff after second-round exit

Cavaliers fire head coach JB Bickerstaff after second-round exit

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking for a new head coach.

J.B. Bickerstaff was fired by the franchise on Thursday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported and the team later confirmed.

The 45-year-old Bickerstaff took over as the Cavs' interim head coach in February 2020 when John Beilein resigned. He was then given four full seasons in the role, compiling a 170-159 record with playoff appearances in each of the last two seasons.

This past season was Bickerstaff's most successful in terms of the postseason. The Cavs earned the No. 4 seed and defeated the Orlando Magic in the first round before falling to the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the second round. Injuries to Jarrett Allen and Donovan Mitchell dashed any chances at pulling off the upset in the conference semifinals.

The Cavs' future is now in flux as president of basketball operations Koby Altman must weigh what to do with the roster. Mitchell has one year left on his contract and could be a trade candidate if he won't sign an extension, while the big-man pairing of Allen and Evan Mobley has yielded mixed results.

“J.B. is a well-respected NBA coach and an incredible human-being,” Altman said. “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.”

Wojnarowski mentioned Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson as a potential replacement for Bickerstaff. He spent four seasons as the Brooklyn Nets' head coach, where he worked with two current Cavs in Allen and Caris LeVert.

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