Cavaliers Fire Head Coach JB Bickerstaff

Initial reports stated the Cavs would review JB Bickerstaff’s performance after the second-round series loss to the Celtics, and it appears that process has concluded.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported this morning that the Cavaliers are parting ways with head coach JB Bickerstaff after five seasons and a 48-34 record this past season. Over his five years in Cleveland, Bickerstaff finished with a 170-159 record and took the Cavs to the NBA Playoffs twice.

JB Bickerstaff Out As Cavs Head Coach

Bickerstaff led the Cavaliers to a 48-34 record and a fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference. They fell short in the second round of the playoffs losing in five games to Boston, but they did so with a pretty shorthanded roster at times. Donovan Mitchell missed the last two games and Jarrett Allen sat out for eight straight postseason games. Were the Cavs going to win an NBA title this season? Probably not. But they gave Boston some tough games and did so without some of their key pieces.

Not to mention, this marked the first time the franchise cracked the second round of the postseason *without LeBron James* since 1993.

One has to wonder if this move is an attempt to appeal to Donovan Mitchell in their pursuit to bring him back on a max extension this offseason. Mitchell can sign a five-year, $269.9 million contract with Cleveland this summer. If he doesn’t sign, however, he will enter the final year of his contract before hitting free agency. Losing him for nothing is not a risk Cleveland will likely be willing to take.

Will JB Bickerstaff's firing sway Donovan Mitchell to stay in Cleveland?
Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

During the regular season, Cavs President of Basketball Operations Kobi Altman was reportedly critical of Bickerstaff for playing Mitchell such heavy minutes. According to the same report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, there was a growing belief around the league that Mitchell did not have confidence in Bickerstaff and several of his teammates felt similarly.

So while JB Bickerstaff might have gotten the Cavs to a competitive second-round series with Boston (at least as competitive as a 4-1 loss can be), it seems his loss of the locker room and belief from his players might have been the final straw along with Altman’s criticisms.

According to a report from Wojnarowski following the firing, Cleveland will put together a list of candidates for the job, but a name to keep an eye on will be former Nets head coach and current Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson. Atkinson coached both Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert in Brooklyn and took that group to the postseason. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Atkinson’s name in head coaching rumors in the last few offseasons, and it seems he’ll get a strong look this year from Cleveland.

written by

Matt is from the Chicagoland area and has been working in Chicago sports since 2015 with stops at WGN Radio, the Chicago Blackhawks, Stadium, and NBC Sports Chicago prior to landing at Betsperts. Matt covers just about everything for Betsperts and Bleacher Nation but focuses on the NHL and college football.

more bulls news

Tom Thibodeau Grabs Maurice Cheeks From the Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls will officially lose a well-respected coaching voice. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Maurice Cheeks will join the New York Knicks as an assistant head coach. Cheeks had been a member of Billy Donovan's coaching staff ever since...

A Couple of Chicago Sky Players Deserve Your All-Star Votes …

The WNBA officially opened up All-Star voting on Thursday! Fans will have a chance to submit their picks up until 11:59 p.m. ET on June 29. This year's contest is scheduled for July 20 in Phoenix, Arizona, and the WNBA...

Illini’s Terrence Shannon Jr. Found Not Guilty

Illinois basketball star Terrence Shannon Jr. has been found not guilty by a Kansas jury, per multiple reports. The announcement comes after a trial that spanned days from rape charges pressed against Shannon in December of 2023. The Illini basketball...

Missing a Shot on Purpose? This Might be the Most “Michael Jordan” Story Ever

June might as well be the month of Michael Jordan. Nearly every day is an anniversary of something the GOAT did on his way to a legendary six championships. For instance, the date of publishing represents 27 years since Jordan's...

Ayo Dosunmu in the Gym, Make Some Dang Trades, Angel Reese’s Great Start, and Other Bulls Bullets

Never did I think I'd enjoy watching the 2023-24 Chicago Bulls more than these NBA Finals. As painful as it was, the majority of Bulls games this season were chaotically close. They appeared in 44 total clutch performances and collected...

NBA Finals Takeaways: Game 3 Loss Must Be Learning Experience For Luka Doncic

Last night's loss for the Mavericks was essentially the nail in the coffin for their NBA Championship hopes this season. They got off to a fantastic start on their home court after dropping Games 1 & 2 to Boston. They...

NBA Finals Injury News: Updates on Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis

After entering the day as questionable, the Boston Celtics have officially ruled out Kristaps Porzingis for Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The Celtics received some very concerning news regarding their big man on Tuesday. Porzingis suffered a left leg...

Zach LaVine Sure is Looking Healthy …

One year after playing his most games since the 2015-16 season, Zach LaVine suited up for the second-fewest contests in his career. The max player appeared in his last game on January 18, 2024. He opted for foot surgery in...

2024 NBA Mock Draft: Still Lots of Questions Two Weeks From Draft Night

With the NBA Draft just two weeks away, we still have a lot of uncertainty in the lottery and the first round as a whole. Projections are a bit all over the place as this year's draft class isn't necessarily...

You Have to See This Young Fan’s Reaction to High-Fiving Angel Reese

Angel Reese's rookie year is off to a strong start. Averaging a near double-double (11.2 points and 9.6 rebounds) to go along with almost 2.0 steals per game, Reese has flashed the two-way potential many hoped to see from the...

Latest News

Mavericks vs. Celtics Predictions, Best Bets and Odds: NBA Finals Game 4 – Friday, June 14, 2024

The Boston Celtics take a 0-3 series lead into a decisive Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Mavericks are favored by 1 point in the matchup, which airs on ABC at 8:30 PM ET. The matchup has an over/under...

Lynx vs Sparks: Best Bets, Player Props & Computer Picks – June 14

Dearica Hamby and the Los Angeles Sparks (4-8) play Napheesa Collier and the Minnesota Lynx (9-3) on Friday, June 14, 2024 at Target Center, at 7:30 PM ET.If you are aiming to make an informed wager on Friday's game, find...

Sky vs Mystics: Best Bets, Player Props & Computer Picks – June 14

The Washington Mystics (1-12) will look to snap a five-game home losing streak when hosting the Chicago Sky (4-7) on Friday, June 14, 2024 at St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena, airing at 7:30 PM ET.Our computer predictions for...

Yankees vs. Red Sox: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 14

The Boston Red Sox (35-34) will host the New York Yankees (49-22), Friday at 6:30 PM ET, in a matchup of AL East rivals.Curious about who's playing for the Yankees and the Red Sox? Read on to see full injury...

Orioles vs. Phillies: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 14

The Baltimore Orioles (45-23) will host the Philadelphia Phillies (46-22), Friday at 7:05 PM ET, in the opener of a three-game series.Want to see who's in and who's out for the Orioles and the Phillies? Keep scrolling to get full...

Cubs vs. Cardinals: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 14

The St. Louis Cardinals (33-34) will visit the Chicago Cubs (33-36), Friday at 2:20 PM ET, in a matchup of NL Central rivals.Hoping to find out who's playing for the Cubs and the Cardinals? Keep reading for full injury reports...

Blue Jays vs. Guardians: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 14

On Friday, a series opener is on the schedule, with the Toronto Blue Jays (33-35) hosting the Cleveland Guardians (43-23) at 7:07 PM ET.Curious about who's playing for the Blue Jays and the Guardians? Keep scrolling to get full injury...

Nationals vs. Marlins: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 14

A pair of clubs in the NL East -- the Washington Nationals (32-36) and the Miami Marlins (23-45) -- clash on Friday at 6:45 PM ET, at Nationals Park.Want to see who's playing for the Nationals and the Marlins? Keep...

Padres vs. Mets: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 14

On Friday, a series opener is on the schedule, with the San Diego Padres (37-35) visiting the New York Mets (30-37) at 7:10 PM ET.Want to see who's playing for the Padres and the Mets? Keep scrolling to get full...

Braves vs. Rays: Injury Report, Updates & Probable Starters – June 14

The Tampa Bay Rays (33-36) will visit the Atlanta Braves (36-30), Friday at 7:20 PM ET, in the first game of a three-game series.Want to see who's playing for the Braves and the Rays? Keep reading for full injury reports...

more bulls news