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Report: J.B. Bickerstaff set to be named permanent head coach

The Vertical’s Shams Charania reports that Bickerstaff and the Grizzlies are in the process of negotiating a permanent contract.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Interim Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff and the Memphis Grizzlies front office are working on the framework of a deal that would make Bickerstaff the permanent head coach, according to a report by The Vertical’s Shams Charania.

Barring any setbacks in negotiations, J.B. Bickerstaff will be the new head coach for the Memphis Grizzlies.

This would be J.B. Bickerstaff’s first official head coaching job in the NBA. He was previously the interim coach for the Houston Rockets in 2015-16 after Kevin McHale was fired midseason. That Rockets team went 37-34 and made the playoffs before losing to the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in the first round.

The news comes nearly two weeks after the conclusion of the regular season when Bickerstaff took over the job for the fired David Fizdale after a 7-12 start. In the interim position, Bickerstaff finished with a record of 15-48, although the number of losses can be courteously considered as inflated due to draft purposes.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Bickerstaff has been a coach in the NBA, assistant or otherwise, for the past 13 years. The 39-year-old will likely inherit a healthy Mike Conley and a top-5 draft pick going into next season, two assets that any coach would blast through a wall for.

Other job openings around the league have been associated with interviews and discussions with potential new coaches, but the Grizzlies have had no news about their coaching search made public since the end of the season. If Bickerstaff was the decision all along, there may have been no reason for a search in the eyes of the Memphis front office.

Bickerstaff will have a more concrete idea of the roster he will be working with on May 15th, when the NBA Draft Lottery determines the Grizzlies’ fate. Stick with GBB throughout the offseason as this and other stories develop.

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