Beilein Resigns As Cavs Head Coach, Bickerstaff Takes Over

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein reacts on the sideline in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, in Boston. [Elise Amendola / AP]
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein reacts on the sideline in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, in Boston. [Elise Amendola / AP]

John Beilein has resigned as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, just 54 games into his first year with the team and in the NBA after nearly 30 years as a college coach.

Beilein will be reassigned to a different role within the organization, according to a Wednesday Cavs press release.

The Cavs are currently 14-40 under the 67-year-old Beilein, the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Beilein leaves not even a year into his five-year contract and will leave a reported $16 million on his contract. ESPN reported the Cavs will pay a portion of this years’ salary.

Last month, an emotional Beilein apologized to the team after inadvertently saying they were no longer playing like a bunch of thugs. Beilein maintains he meant to say “slugs.”

Sports website The Athletic reported in December that Cavs players were growing increasingly frustrated with Beilein and were already tuning him out in favor of Associate Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff, now the new head coach without an interim title.

Bickerstaff has been in a similar situation twice before, with Houston and Memphis.

The now 40-year-old was named Houston's head coach in the 2015-2016 season after Kevin McHale was fired 11 games into the season. Bickerstaff led the Rockets to the playoffs that season, but they were eliminated in the first round by Golden State.

Bickerstaff also was a midseason replacement for David Fizdale in Memphis during the 2017-2018 season. He coached the Grizzlies the following season before he was fired, then joined the Cavaliers. J.B. is the son of Bernie Bickerstaff, who coached for more than 30 years in the NBA and is currently a senior consultant with the Cavs. 

Bickerstaff becomes the fourth Cavaliers head coach in less than two full seasons. Tyronn Lue began the 2018-2019 campaign as coach but was fired after a 0-6 start. Larry Drew was named interim coach and parted ways with the franchise in April.

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