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AP source: Cavs interview J.B. Bickertstaff for coaching job

UPDATED: Tue., April 30, 2019

In this March 5, 2019 photo, Memphis Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff calls to players during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, in Memphis, Tenn. (Brandon Dill / Associated Press)
In this March 5, 2019 photo, Memphis Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff calls to players during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, in Memphis, Tenn. (Brandon Dill / Associated Press)
By Tom Withers Associated Press

CLEVELAND – The Cavaliers are interviewing a coaching candidate with a very familiar name.

Former Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff is meeting Tuesday with the Cavaliers about their job, a person familiar with the team’s coaching search told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team is not revealing its plans. Bickerstaff’s father, Bernie, was a longtime NBA coach and currently is a senior adviser with the Cavaliers.

The 40-year-old Bickerstaff was fired earlier this month by the Memphis Grizzlies, who made a coaching change and demoted general manager Chris Wallace to their scouting department in the wake of a disappointing 33-49 season. The Grizzlies had numerous injuries and crumbled after a 12-5 start.

Bickerstaff was named the Grizzlies’ interim coach in November 2017 to replace David Fizdale. Bickerstaff has previous experience as an assistant with Charlotte, Minnesota and Houston, and he has been praised for his ability to help develop young players.

Bickerstaff is the third known candidate to meet with the Cavaliers, along with Dallas assistant Jamahl Mosley and Miami assistant Juwan Howard. The team also is expected to interview Utah assistant Alex Jensen and has received permission to speak with Portland assistants David Vanterpool and Nate Tibbetts, who are still involved in the playoffs.

The Cavaliers are looking for their sixth coach since 2013 after parting ways with Larry Drew following a 19-63 season. Drew took over in October when Cleveland fired Tyronn Lue following a 0-6 start.

Earlier this month, GM Koby Altman said there was no timetable to find a coach. He promised to be respectful in talking to coaches on teams in the postseason.

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