Cavaliers fire head coach Bickerstaff after NBA playoff ouster

J. B. Bickerstaff has been fired as head coach of the NBA's <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Cleveland Cavaliers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Cleveland Cavaliers</a> (Jason Miller)
J. B. Bickerstaff has been fired as head coach of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers (Jason Miller)

The Cleveland Cavaliers sacked head coach J.B. Bickerstaff on Thursday, a week after they were eliminated in the second round of the NBA playoffs by the Boston Celtics.

In his fifth season in Cleveland, Bickerstaff had guided the Cavs to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with a regular season record of 48-34.

They reached the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

But with star guard Donovan Mitchell sidelined the last two games and center Jarrett Allen missing eight straight post-season contests, the Cavs fell in five games to the top-seeded Celtics.

Bickerstaff took over as Cleveland's head coach after John Beilein was fired during the 2019-20 season.

In 2021 he agreed a contract extension that was due to take him through the 2026-27 season.

"J.B. is a well-respected NBA coach and an incredible human-being," Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman said.

"Over the past four years, he helped establish a culture that progressively drove players to become the best versions of themselves.

"Decisions like these are never easy, particularly when you look back at where this franchise rebuild started under his leadership. The NBA is a unique business that sometimes requires aggressive risk-taking to move a franchise forward and ultimately compete for championships."

Bickerstaff, who has also served as head coach with Houston and Memphis, compiled an overall record of 170-159 with Cleveland.