Report: Interim HC J.B. Bickerstaff Signs 3-Year Contract with Grizzlies

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2018

Memphis Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff gestures in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. The Pelicans won 123-95. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld)
Scott Threlkeld/Associated Press

The Memphis Grizzlies have reportedly found their new coach, and they are staying in house.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Grizzlies and J.B. Bickerstaff reached an agreement on a three-year deal after he served as the team's interim coach for the majority of the 2017-18 campaign.

Memphis fired David Fizdale after just 19 games, and Bickerstaff stepped in for the remaining 63 contests, leading the team to a 15-48 record.

Bickerstaff also coached the Houston Rockets in 2015-16 and led them to a 37-34 record. He was the associate head coach in Memphis before taking over the interim role and previously served as an assistant coach for Houston, the Charlotte Hornets and the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier in his career.

He earned the praise of one key cog in Memphis, as Geoff Calkins of the Commercial Appeal noted point guard Mike Conley said "he definitely deserves the job" when discussing the possibility Bickerstaff would be promoted from his interim role.

While the Grizzlies made the playoffs their previous seven years prior to the 2017-18 campaign, they had Conley for just 12 games this season because of injury. Without their floor general and one of their go-to scoring options, they lost 60 games for the first time in a decade. 

Memphis also didn't have franchise stalwart Zach Randolph after he signed with the Sacramento Kings this past offseason.

There is a silver lining to the struggles, as the Grizzlies possess the second-best odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft.

With the return of Conley, a favorable draft pick and continuity with Bickerstaff remaining aboard, the Grizzlies will look to once again compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference moving forward.

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