Coach J.B. Bickerstaff has agreed to a multi-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to a report by The Athletic on Tuesday.
ESPN later confirmed the report, citing sources.
Since replacing John Beilein, Bickerstaff has a 5-5 record with the Cavaliers heading into Tuesday night's road game against the Chicago Bulls. That's a marked improvement over their 14-40 record under Beilein to start the 2019-20 season.
Before Tuesday's reports, one player told Cleveland.com about the difference being coached by Beilein and Bickerstaff: "It's night and day. (Beilein) didn't know how to talk to people. He couldn't communicate."
With 19 victories, the Cavaliers have already matched last season's total. But the players aren't ready to stop winning now.
"We're just going to keep pushing for 20, keep pushing for 25," veteran power forward Larry Nance Jr. told Cleveland.com. "I don't even know how many games we have left. But we're going to try to get 'em all."
Bickerstaff, who celebrated his 41st birthday on Tuesday, was named associate head coach by the Cavaliers last May. He was hired then to help Beilein transition to the pros after he coached college basketball.
Before taking over for Beilein, Bickerstaff had compiled an 85-131 record as an NBA head coach, spending most of the previous two seasons leading the Memphis Grizzlies as well as serving as coach of the Houston Rockets for most of the 2015-16 campaign.
He was fired by the Grizzlies in April 2019 after they went 48-97 during his tenure there. Bickerstaff also served as interim head coach of the Rockets in 2015-16, posting a 37-34 record after replacing Kevin McHale.
"I also would not be doing this now, during the season, if J.B. Bickerstaff was not ready and capable to assume the head coaching role immediately and continue the rebuilding process that we have started," Beilein said when he formally resigned.
Bickerstaff has also been an assistant coach with the Charlotte Bobcats (2004-07), Minnesota Timberwolves (2007-11), Rockets (2011-15) and Grizzlies (2016-17).
--Field Level Media