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J.B. Bickerstaff is keeping the job.
After spending most of the season as interim coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, Bickerstaff has been hired as the main man, agreeing to a three-year contract, according a report from ESPN late Thursday.
He coached the final 63 games after taking over for David Fizdale in November. Despite a 15-48 record, Bickerstaff earned praise and support from Grizzlies management and players, including team cornerstones Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Jr.
It appeared the Grizzlies knew Bickerstaff was their man immediately after the season, as they never interviewed any candidates.
“The Grizzlies have decided they want to be back in the playoffs next year,” wrote Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “They’re going to build around two aging stars, a collection of younger role players, and a high lottery pick. The two aging stars have both made it clear they want Bickerstaff to return as head coach. The younger role players showed progress under Bickerstaff last year. Why disrupt that to bring in the next Fizdale?”
Bickerstaff coached the Houston Rockets to a 37-34 record in 2015, when he replaced the fired Kevin McHale. He has also been an assistant with the Charlotte Hornets and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Grizzlies have the second-highest odds (behind Phoenix) of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.