J.B. Bickerstaff may be the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers sooner than expected, with reports that he was always next in line.
When you hire an NBA coach in his late 60’s, the idea is that he won’t be the coach for the next decade. Apparently that’s the case here for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite John Beilein being given a big four-year deal, former Memphis Grizzlies head coach and current Cavs assistant head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was always intended to take over for Beilein.
Just not half a season in.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavs had planned to have Bickerstaff take over the team when Beilein stepped down at the end of his coaching career with the Cavs, it just wasn’t expected that would happen by the All-Star break. Apparently the big hold up is the discussion on the contract settlement and what that buy-out figure will look like.
With Bickerstaff now the coach-in-waiting on a fulltime basis, the team can figure out the best way to manage the roster. Bickerstaff, hopefully, has better control of things than Beilein did. With reports that the players were going to Bickerstaff already instead of Beilein with questions they had, it’s clear there’s a report there. Bickerstaff has the ears of the locker room.
For now. That can always change. It’s like the old sports adage, “the most popular player on a football team is the backup quarterback.” In this case, Bickerstaff could be the guy everyone is going to simply because he’s not the head coach. What if he takes the reigns and the team fails to listen again? At what point will the blame shift from Beilein to the team as being the problem?
Hopefully, Bickerstaff is the answer to some of the questions that surround the team.