It’s becoming very clear that John Beilein won’t be finishing out that five-year contract he signed to become head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers last offseason.
Beilein is not expected to stay on as head coach in Cleveland beyond the end of the season, according to Shams Charania, Kelsey Russo and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.
Additionally, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Cavaliers have even discussed an exit over the current All-Star break.
Sources: Beilein left for the All-Star break weighing his future as coach -- including the possibility that he's coached his final game, league sources tell ESPN. He has yet to make convey a decision, but there's been conversation w/ management about the option of a prompt exit. https://t.co/L5LVVyLiu4
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 17, 2020
None of this is too surprising to anyone who has paid attention to the 14-40 Cavaliers.
John Beilein’s time in Cleveland has been a disaster
Beilein’s hire was widely seen as an odd choice last offseason, as he was 66 years old (now 67) and had zero professional coaching experience. Predictably, his adjustment to the NBA after a four-decade coaching career spent entirely in the college and high school ranks — the last 12 spent as head coach at Michigan — has been extremely turbulent.
First, there were the reports that Cavaliers players were unhappy with Beilein’s “nitpicking” coaching style and cutesy terminologies (e.g. a curl is a “polar bear”). Then, there was that time Beilein had to apologize to his players for calling them “thugs” in a team meeting, saying he was trying to call them “slugs” (the man clearly likes animals).
Those off-court struggles didn’t inspire confidence in a coach stewarding a team toward a last-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
Additionally, The Athletic reports that the resignation of Beilein’s son, Patrick, as head coach at Niagara has taken a toll on John Beilein and he has never felt comfortable in his first year in the NBA.
None of that is good for a rebuilding Cavaliers squad that hoped the former college coach would be an ideal guide for a team filled with young players, including point guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. If a move is made on Beilein soon, top assistant J.B. Bickerstaff, who actually has NBA head coaching experience, would be a logical choice as interim coach.
As for Beilein, it seems safe to say he won’t have NBA teams knocking on his door after this. A return to college would probably be the best move for his next job, unless he decides to retire.
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