Sources: Pistons to hire Bickerstaff as new coach



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J.B. Bickerstaff has agreed to a five-year deal to become the next coach of the Detroit Pistons, sources told ESPN on Sunday.

Bickerstaff emerged from a field of several candidates to land the job under new president of basketball operations Trajan Langdon. Bickerstaff ushered the Cleveland Cavaliers through a rebuild, winning 99 regular-season games over the past two seasons. He led Cleveland to the Eastern Conference playoffs in consecutive years — including a conference semifinals berth this year. The Cavaliers dismissed Bickerstaff after the season, hiring Kenny Atkinson.

The Pistons will be Bickerstaff’s fourth head-coaching job, including stops in Houston, Memphis and Cleveland. Detroit fired coach Monty Williams after a league-worst 14-68 season, his first year in a six-year, $78.5 million contract. Ownership also moved on from general manager Troy Weaver, bringing on Langdon, who has charted a course for a deliberate rebuild that is expected to fit well with Bickerstaff’s experience with the Cavaliers.

Langdon has been aggressive in gathering front office and coaching talent in recent weeks, hiring Mike Blackstone and Dennis Lindsey in his front office and now moving quickly to land Bickerstaff out of a field that included Dallas Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney, who made a strong impression in the process, sources said.

The Pistons are hoping to sign 2021 No. 1 draft pick Cade Cunningham to a long-term contract on his rookie extension and are prioritizing the use of their salary cap space to take on veteran contracts that will be paired with future draft picks.

After replacing John Beilein as interim coach in 2020, Bickerstaff had a 170-159 (.517) record in five seasons with the Cavaliers. Cleveland was the Eastern Conference’s fourth seed with a 48-34 record this season, beating the Orlando Magic in the opening round of the playoffs.

Boston defeated Cleveland 4-1 in the conference semifinals, during which the Cavs were without center Jarrett Allen and All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell missed the final two games with a calf injury.



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