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Cavs have interest in ex-Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff

The Cavs coaching search adds another name.

Memphis Grizzlies v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

According to Marc Stein from The New York Times, the Cavs have some interest in former Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff and could add him to their coaching search:

Bickerstaff, 40, was let go by the Grizzlies on April 11 in a surprise move. Hours before the Grizzlies reshuffled their front office and fired Bickerstaff, then-GM Chris Wallace said Bickerstaff would be back coaching Memphis next season. Wallace was moved into a scouting role.

Bickerstaff took over the Grizzlies during the 2017 season after David Fizdale was fired. Previously, he filled in and coached the Rockets for 71 games in 2015 after Kevin McHale was fired. To date, he has a career record of 85-131. He is also the son of NBA coach former Bernie Bickerstaff, who is currently a senior basketball advisor with the Cavs. It is unknown if the elder Bickerstaff is involved in the Cavs’ coaching search.

It’s unclear right now if the Cavs will interview the younger Bickerstaff. He’s the right age and reporting out of Memphis indicates that he was well liked by his players. However, that same reporting indicates player development was not his strength. And player development prowess is believed to be a main skill the Cavs want in their next coach.

Per Stein, the Cavs are also in the early stages of their search, which makes sense. The team just received permission to talk to two assistants — Portland’s David Vanterpool and Nate Tibbetts — believed to be on its wish list. Until GM Koby Altman, owner Dan Gilbert and company can actually interview the candidates they want to talk to, they should not be in a rush to hire a coach. With that in mind, it makes sense to take the time to vet a coach like J.B. Bickerstaff.