Lindsay Gottlieb

Cavaliers Notes: Bickerstaff, Osman, Porter, Gottlieb

Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff believes finishing the season would be important to his young team, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Cavs still own the worst record in the East at 19-46, but they went 5-6 after Bickerstaff replaced John Beilein as head coach last month, including wins over the Nuggets, Heat and Sixers.

“I would hope to play the final 17 games, to be honest with you,” he said. “Where we are and how important that is to us as a team in building and the taste it can leave as we go into what would have been a summer break — guys wanting to go out, work, prepare and get better because they start to see some things heading in the right direction. That momentum I think was going to be and would be important for us.

“The toughest thing in this league is learning how to win and we were starting to get to the point in fourth quarters. So, for us as a group, that’s meaningful. Obviously the league will do what it deems best for the entire league and our fans, but for us, I would love to have those games.”

Bickerstaff adds that he hasn’t been tested for the coronavirus and all his players remain healthy. Cleveland hosted Utah on March 2, nine days before a positive test by Jazz center Rudy Gobert sparked the shutdown of the league.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Small forward may be the primary position the Cavaliers try to upgrade during the offseason, Fedor predicts in a separate piece. Cedi Osman, the starter for the past two years, might be better off as a reserve, Fedor suggests. First-round pick Dylan Windler wasn’t able to play at all because of injuries and will be starting from scratch next season. Kevin Porter Jr. could be the most talented member of Cleveland’s young core, but many in the organization view him as a shooting guard.
  • Three-point shooting and passing are also areas that need improvement, Fedor adds. Center Tristan Thompson leads the team from beyond the arc at 39.1%, while Matthew Dellavedova is clearly the best passer in the organization.
  • It didn’t take long for Lindsay Gottlieb to win the respect of the players in her first season as an assistant coach, Fedor notes in another story. Andre Drummond connected with her right away after being acquired from the Pistons. “I immediately gravitated towards her and have ever since,” Drummond said. “I always preach positivity. She sees that. Any time she sees me get down on myself, she always comes over and gives me a pat on the leg and tells me to stay positive and I will be fine.”

Cavaliers Notes: Trades, Coaches, Lineup Changes

The Cavaliers underwent a major change this week, moving on from coach John Beilein. Yet, more needs to be done if the team is going to turn the franchise around, as I recently wrote on Heavy.com.

If Andre Drummond opts in this offseason, then making trades will be key to unlocking Cleveland’s fortunes. Kevin Love and Collin Sexton are among the players who could bring the franchise long-term value in deals.

Here’s more from Cleveland:

  • Assistant Lindsay Gottlieb will rotation with J.J. Outlaw to the front of the bench under new coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic tweets. It will depend on which coach as the scouting report for a given game. Russo adds that Antonio Lang is the new lead assistant, for now.
  • Bickerstaff plans to experiment with the lineups, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com passes along. “Are there things that we can do to be creative? Like you talk about K.P., can he play the point? Can we put the ball in his hand and let him initiate some stuff? Those types of things,” Bickerstaff said.
  • Bickerstaff didn’t see Beilein’s exit coming over the All-Star break, as he was in the Caribbean vacationing, Fedor writes in the same piece. However, the team and Bickerstaff had previously spoken about the associate head coach taking over after Beilein was done, though no one expected it this soon.

John Beilein Resigns As Cavaliers Coach

After days of rumors that he was on the way out, John Beilein has officially resigned as coach of the Cavaliers, the team announced in a press release. Beilein will remain with the team and will be assigned to a different role.

“Over these last nine months, I have given my all to this organization, but after much reflection, I have decided that it is best that I step back and resign from my position as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers and assist the organization in a different capacity,” Beilein said. “I am very grateful to (owner) Dan Gilbert, (general manager) Koby Altman and the entire Cavaliers organization for the opportunity they have provided me.”

Beilein, 67, had a rocky road throughout his first NBA season after four decades of success in the college ranks. He posted a 14-40 record, but the losing was expected with a rebuilding team. It was Beilein’s coaching style that reportedly alienated many of his players, and he often seemed out of touch with the NBA game.

Beilein was second-guessing his decision to leave Michigan as far back as the preseason, according to a report from The Athletic this morning. He found that his players didn’t respond well to lengthy practices and film sessions, and he wasn’t used to the idea of load management to help veterans get through an 82-game season.

“This was a very difficult decision for me,” Beilein added in the press release, “but I want to be clear – this was my decision to step down and I truly appreciate the understanding and support of the front office during this time. I find losing very challenging and this year has taken a much bigger toll on me than I expected. I grew concerned for the consequences this toll could potentially take on my own health and my family’s well-being down the road. I was not certain I could be at my best for the remainder of the season and in the future. That would not be fair to the players, coaches and support staff.”

Beilein’s new role and how long he will remain there haven’t been determined, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Sources expect Beilein to be heavily involved with the draft because of his connections to the college game.

Beilein spent 12 years at Michigan, leading the team to nine NCAA Tournament appearances and two Final Fours. He compiled 829 total college wins with 20 postseason appearances. Those credentials convinced the Cavaliers to gamble on him despite a lack of NBA experience, giving him a five-year contract in May.

“John Beilein is one of the more accomplished basketball coaches in the history of our game and while it’s unexpected, we understand and respect his decision to step down as head coach of the Cavaliers,” Altman said. “I was excited about the development of our young players, who have all shown growth and maturity under Coach Beilein. We are thankful for the time he spent as head coach with the Cavaliers and are looking forward to his continued contribution. The NBA is a unique business that sometimes requires aggressive risk-taking on important long-term decisions to move a franchise forward and ultimately compete for championships. I would like to thank the incredible fans of the Cavaliers for their support in both good and challenging times. Building a strong culture will continue to be the top priority here at the Cavaliers.”

As expected, assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff will be promoted to replace Beilein. He has previous experience as a head coach with the Rockets and Grizzlies, compiling an 85-131 record. Every assistant coach is likely to be promoted, according to Fedor, which means Lindsay Gottlieb figures to move to the front of the bench (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cavaliers Hire Lindsay Gottlieb As Assistant

12:21pm: The Cavaliers have made it official, announcing the hiring of Gottlieb in a press release.

“I am excited to have a coach with Lindsay’s experience as a part of the new coaching staff with the Cavaliers,” Beilein said in a statement. “Lindsay truly values and embraces player development and a culture of winning basketball habits. Her success at Cal Berkeley speaks for itself and her insight in our meetings, practices and games will hold tremendous value.”

12:09pm: The Cavaliers are hiring Lindsay Gottlieb, the head coach of the University of California women’s basketball team, as an assistant coach on John Beilein‘s new staff, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gottlieb, who took over as the head coach of the women’s program at Cal in 2011 after coaching at UC Santa Barbara for three seasons, had a 179-89 (.668) record over eight seasons with the Golden Bears. She led the team to seven NCAA Tournament appearances during that stretch, including a spot in the Final Four in 2013.

While Gottlieb won’t be the first woman who joins an NBA team’s staff as an assistant coach, her hiring still represents a landmark appointment for the NBA, as Wojnarowski explains. She’ll become the first women’s collegiate head coach recruited to join an NBA staff.

Sources tell Wojnarowski that Gottlieb will sign a four-year contract and is expected to take on a prominent role on the Cavaliers’ bench alongside Beilein and new lead assistant J.B. Bickerstaff.

According to Woj, GM Koby Altman had been interested in pursuing a high-level women’s college coach and brought the idea to Beilein. The former Michigan coach became determined to recruit Gottlieb after meeting with her and discussing the ways she could impact an NBA coaching staff, per Woj’s sources.