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Altman: Cavs seeking 'different voice' in head coaching search

Jason Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — J.B. Bickerstaff didn't do anything wrong to deserve being fired. The Cavaliers just feel like they reached their limit with him.

A day after Bickerstaff was let go despite winning 99 games the past two seasons and taking the Cavs into the second round of the NBA playoffs despite numerous injuries in 2024, president of basketball operations Koby Altman tried to explain the rationale behind the somewhat shocking dismissal.

Altman praised Bickerstaff's many successes in his four-plus seasons, but feels the Cavs need a new leader.

“Someone with a new approach, someone with a different voice, a fresh set of eyes to help us move forward,” Altman said Friday. "We’ve accomplished a lot in the last few years, getting to a conference semifinal and we don’t want to be complacent.

“We feel we’re not far off.”

Altman said he and his staff will use the holiday weekend to decompress before reconvening and beginning their first search for a new coach in five years.

Altman intimated he doesn't have a list of candidates yet, adding the new coach will have to fit “very highly specific” criteria.

Bickerstaff was fired one week after the Cavs' playoff run — the team's deepest since 2018 and longest without LeBron James on the roster since 1993 — ended with a second-round loss to the Boston Celtics. Cleveland played the final two games of that series without All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell due to a calf injury.

Mitchell can sign a four-year, $200 million contract extension with the Cavs this summer, and Altman believes the 27-year-old is committed to chasing a title in Cleveland.

“This is a player that has had two of the best years of his career here, has had a lot of success here, understands the infrastructure,” Altman said. “I think he has a lot of trust in what we’re doing and understands that our goal is to win a championship.”



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