Pistons Hire J.B. Bickerstaff As Next Head Coach

JB Bickerstaff, NBA Rumors, Cleveland Cavaliers
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons aim to lock in Cade Cunningham with a long-term contract extension on his rookie deal this NBA offseason. They also plan to leverage their salary cap space by acquiring veteran contracts and future draft picks to improve the supporting cast. First, hiring a new coach as they did on Sunday was important.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, J.B. Bickerstaff signed a five-year contract to become the head coach of the Pistons. This marks Bickerstaff’s fourth head-coaching role, following previous stints with the Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Cleveland Cavaliers.

After stepping in as interim coach for the Cavaliers in 2020, replacing John Beilein, Bickerstaff finished with a 170-159 (.517) coaching record during his five seasons at the helm. Cleveland finished this season as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 48-34 record, advancing past the Orlando Magic in the first round. Still, the locker room had lost confidence in his abilities this season.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: JB Bickerstaff, Detroit Pistons Updates

Despite this success, Cleveland parted ways with Bickerstaff at the end of the season and brought in Kenny Atkinson as his successor. Bickerstaff guided the Cavaliers through rebuilding, leading the team to consecutive Eastern Conference playoff appearances, including a trip to the conference semifinals this year.

The Cavaliers’ playoff run ended in the conference semifinals, where they were defeated by Boston 4-1. The team faced significant challenges, including the absence of center Jarrett Allen and Donovan Mitchell, who missed the final two games with a calf injury.

The Pistons, who fired coach Monty Williams after a league-worst 14-68 season, are undergoing a major transformation. Detroit’s new president of basketball operations, Trajan Langdon, who replaced general manager Troy Weaver, has aggressively assembled his front office and coaching staff.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: JB Bickerstaff, Detroit Pistons Updates

Recently, the Pistons hired Mike Blackstone and Dennis Lindsey and quickly secured Bickerstaff from a competitive field that included Dallas Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney, who made a strong impression during the selection process, as Wojnarowski reported.

Langdon has charted a course for a rebuild and it’ll be needed soon considering Cunningham has spent his full tenure with the Pistons in a losing environment. At some point, that wears thin on a potential star player.

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