3 head coaches who could replace J.B. Bickerstaff if Cavaliers fire him

J.B. Bickerstaff, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
J.B. Bickerstaff, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images /
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The Cleveland Cavaliers are not itching to fire head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. He doesn’t enter the season walking on thin ice, nor is the organization feuding with him publicly or privately as they have with former coaches. Bickerstaff is well-liked up-and-down the organization and he led the team to its best season in a half-decade last season.

The potential concern with Bickerstaff is whether he is capable of making the adjustments necessary to win in the playoffs. Can he continue to evolve his understanding of NBA offense, can he press the right buttons with lineups and rotations, can he adjust quickly to an opponent’s plan without needing to lose a game first?

It’s not out of the question that the Cavaliers get to the end of this season and decide to move on from Bickerstaff, either because of another disappointing playoff exit or simply a desire to find more of a tactician to take them from good to great. He is firmly on the “Seat Index” this season and his seat could heat up as the year goes on.

If the team decides to fire Bickerstaff by the end of the season, who could be a candidate to replace him as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Head coaching candidates to avoid

It’s not clear who the candidates will be next summer, as assistants will elevate themselves during the year, other head coaches will be fired, and some currently available may be hired during the season, a la Quin Snyder last year.

Of those coaches likely to be available, however, a few should be ruled out. Mark Jackson and Doc Rivers will be calling games together on ESPN this year and the Cavs shouldn’t look their way for a coach who can elevate a team in the playoffs. Retreads like Nate McMillan clearly don’t have the chops for modern strategic basketball. Luke Walton is in-house but shouldn’t be relied upon as a head coach.

There are plenty of other options that are intriguing, from Steve Nash to Kenny Atkinson to Jordi Fernandez, but we’ll keep this list short. Here are three coaches who may be available next season that are specifically intriguing as a potential replacement to J.B. Bickerstaff.