The Cleveland Cavaliers have a clear path forward for the first time in years, and the team is ensuring head coach J.B. Bickerstaff is along for the ride.
Bickerstaff has signed a long-term contract extension to remain with the Cavaliers, the team announced on Saturday. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the contract will take Bickerstaff through the 2026-27 season.
The move reflects an immensely promising start for the Cavaliers, who are fifth in the Eastern Conference at 19-13. Their 18-12 record through the 30 games was the team's best mark without LeBron James on the roster since the 1997-98 season.
Amid all that success, the Cavaliers remain one of the youngest teams in the NBA. Among their top six players in minutes per game, Lauri Markkanen is the oldest at 24 years old, while Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen all have the look of franchise tentpoles. The team is fourth in the NBA in net rating, and third in defensive rating.
Pretty good for a team that was 22-50 a year ago.
From the Cavaliers:
“J.B. Bickerstaff is, with all certainty, the right head coach to lead this franchise into what we believe is a very promising future,” said [general manager Koby Altman]. “The decision to extend J.B. is not based solely on the early success of this season, but rather a body of work since his arrival to Cleveland. His leadership style, coaching experience and commitment to player development has instilled a growing confidence that resonates across our entire organization. We continue to see innovative and strategic examples of his impact on this roster, coupled by his unique ability to build upon a culture that leads to sustainable success.”
Formerly the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, Bickerstaff has been with the Cavaliers since the team hired him to be John Beilein's associate head coach in 2019. After Beilein's ouster, Bickerstaff was promoted to the top job.