Cavs reward Bickerstaff with contract after strong start

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Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff gives instructions to players in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Indiana won 113-104. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – J.B. Bickerstaff's impressive start with the Cavaliers has been rewarded.

Bickerstaff, who has Cleveland playing its best basketball this season since taking over when John Beilein suddenly resigned last month, agreed to a multi-year contract with the team on Tuesday.

The Cavs announced the deal with Bickerstaff shortly before their game in Chicago, where they started a six-game trip.

Terms of the deal were not immediately known.

Although they still have one of the NBA's worst records, the Cavs have shown major improvement in a short period under Bickerstaff. They're 5-5 going into Tuesday's game against the Bulls and the Cavs have had more energy and exhibited more togetherness than at any time for Beilein.

“They bought in automatically,” Bickerstaff said before tip-off in Chicago. "They’re competing, playing together and doing all the things we’ve been trying to push. They’ve led the way and made it easy for us as coaches. It’s exciting just to be a part of it. They’re obviously the ones that are gonna carry us.

"It’s our jobs as coaches to just steer the ship a little bit.”

Bickerstaff was promoted after Beilein stepped down after 54 games in his first season. He had been serving as an associate head coach under the 67-year-old Beilein, who cited personal health issues as one of his reasons for leaving a job he thought he was ready to handle.