Cleveland Cavaliers manager JB Bickerstaff received a multi-year contract extension for his role in the team’s dramatic breakthrough.
Bickerstaff’s signing was announced on Saturday although the exact terms of the deal were not released but ESPN reported that Bickerstaff is under contract for the 2026-27 season.
After winning just 22 games last season, the Cavs are 19-13 and fifth in the Eastern Conference. They recently won six straight games, but were hit by a COVID-19 outbreak and had to put eight players in health protocols.
Affable 42-year-old Bickerstaff took over when John Beilein departed midway through the 2019 season. Prior to coaching in Cleveland, Bickerstaff was an interim manager in Houston and Memphis.
The Cavs only won 19 games in Bickerstaff’s shortened first season, but they were showing great promise before the season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cleveland was devastated by injuries last season and finished 22-50.
Expectations were low for this season, but the arrival of rookie striker Evan Mobley, the No. 3 in the draft, and veteran guard Ricky Rubio were important factors in the Cavs’ rise this season. With one of the NBA’s youngest rosters, the Cavs were a big surprise despite a busy schedule. They have won 12 times against teams with record wins and 14 wins were at least 10 points.
“JB Bickerstaff is, with all certainty, the right coach to lead this franchise in what we believe is a very promising future,” said Cavs GM Koby Altman.
“The decision to extend JB is not based solely on early success this season, but rather on a body of work since his arrival in Cleveland. His leadership style, coaching experience and commitment to player development they instilled a growing confidence that resonates throughout our entire organization.
“We continue to see innovative and strategic examples of its impact on this list, along with its unique ability to build on a culture that leads to sustainable success.”
Cleveland’s defense also improved dramatically under Bickerstaff. The Cavs have the third best defensive rating in the league and are second to the Golden State for points allowed.
The Cavs are hosting the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.