Cavs ‘Absolutely’ Intend to Keep JB Bickerstaff as Coach

For those who were wondering, no, coach J.B. Bickerstaff isn’t going anywhere after the Cavaliers’ first-round flameout vs. the Knicks.JB Bickerstaff Isaac Okoro

No less than president of basketball operations Koby Altman made that abundantly clear during a season-ending press conference on Friday.

“End that speculation. Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. There’s no question about that,” Altman said, via Chris Fedor of “Look at what he has accomplished. I have not heard that stuff. Maybe because I haven’t been reading or been on Twitter. I have not heard that noise. That’s not even a question.”

The Cavs finished 51-31 under Bickerstaff, good enough for second in the Central Division and fourth overall in the Eastern Conference. But Cleveland looked overmatched and was very clearly outmuscled in its first postseason appearance without LeBron James in 25 years.

So Bickerstaff has been the Cavs’ most successful coach since 1998. Along the way, the defense improved immensely and spent a big chunk of the season as the league’s best.

In other words, gutting the coaching staff is not viewed as wise by the front office, given that the young core tasted the playoffs for the first time as a unit. It probably doesn’t hurt that Bickerstaff is admired by the players. In the NBA, that can be rare.

“J.B. has been through this rebuild from the ground up and he’s done a phenomenal job instilling a culture here of accountability and hard work,” Altman said, via Fedor. “You can’t fluke your way into 51 wins and you can’t fluke your way into the No. 1 defensive rating in the NBA. That’s coaching. I know we have great defensive personnel, but you have to have buy-in from that and that comes from the head coach. We’re extremely happy with J.B. and the job he’s done. I think he’s going to look back and reflect on what we could have done better, just like the players look back at what they could have done better.

“We’re always looking internally of how we can make improvements from a front office standpoint to put the best team we can out there, but when you look at 95 wins over the last two years, the trajectory of this team, the internal growth of the players, multiple All-Stars over the last couple years, it’s hard not to be proud of the job they’ve done.”

This falls in line with what Hoops Wire sources relayed earlier, that Bickerstaff’s job is indeed safe headed into next season.

I discussed why keeping Bickerstaff is the right move in an interview on WHBC 1480-AM, which you can find directly below.

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  1. If 51 wins aren’t a fluke, then neither are the Knicks 47.

    How about the 4-1 domination of the 47 win team over the 51 win team in the playoffs, is the implication or message to the fans that this was a fluke? Who brought up this word?

    Didn’t feel like a fluke, it looked like domination. My eyes saw that, not some off chance fluke. That’s why they make it out of seven. To avoid fluke results.

    As much as JB has brought to this team, we will still need more to find success. Here’s to hoping JB continues to improve. He teaches great fundamental principles and team concepts.. But the head coach needs a lot more than that for playoff success.

    JB as a head coach in the playoffs has a career 3-9 record. Fluke? If that’s the word we’re using to analyze JB as a coach, so be it.

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