Reports: Pistons to hire J.B. Bickerstaff as head coach

League: NBA

Posted on: 30 Jun, 2024 at 04:23 PM

Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons will name J.B. Bickerstaff as their next head coach, multiple outlets reported Sunday.

Bickerstaff was fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers on May 23 after leading them to the second round of the playoffs in 2023-24. Now, he's headed to the Pistons on a five-year deal, with a team option for the fifth season, the Detroit Free Press reported.

No financial terms were released.

The Pistons fired head coach Monty Williams on June 19, one season into a $76.5 million, six-year deal.

Detroit finished the 2023-24 season with an NBA-worst 14-68 record, a franchise low, that included a 28-game losing streak.

New president of basketball operations Trajan Langdon will ask Bickerstaff, 45, to help turn around a franchise that has spun its wheels over the past five years, not winning more than 23 games in a season in that span.

Bickerstaff had three straight winning seasons as head coach of the Cavaliers, who reached the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time in six years in 2023-24 before falling to the Boston Celtics in five games in an injury-marred series.

Bickerstaff compiled a record of 170-159 since replacing John Beilein in February 2020.

After going 22-50 in his first full season, the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 campaign, the Cavaliers improved to 44-38 in 2021-22 and 51-31 in 2022-23 before finishing 48-34 in the recently completed season.

Bickerstaff has a reputation as someone who can develop young talent, and the Pistons have plenty of that. The group is led by Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2021, as well as Jaden Ivey and Ausar Thompson, the No. 5 overall picks in the 2022 and '23 drafts, respectively.

On Wednesday, the Pistons selected Ron Holland with the No. 5 pick.

They could try to make some noise in free agency, which begins Sunday night. The Free Press said the team has about $50 million in cap space.

Before his run in Cleveland, Bickerstaff was the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, finishing 49-97 from 2017-19. He also coached the Houston Rockets (37-34, 2015-16).

--Field Level Media