John Beilein is reportedly out as Cleveland Cavaliers coach.
The only surprise is that it took this long. A new report from Wednesday indicates that players weren’t exactly thrilled about him sticking around.
“Slugs,” not “thugs”
The rookie head coach who was already showing signs of trouble adjusting to the NBA reportedly called his players “thugs” in a Jan. 8 film session, apparently signaling his immediate demise as a coach at the game’s highest level.
But it wasn’t until Tuesday that news broke that Beilein had said his goodbyes at the Cavs facility and J.B. Bickerstaff was taking over.
A day after the film-session incident, news broke that Beilein was keeping his job. That news did come as a surprise, especially considering Beilein’s reported reasoning that he intended to call his players “slugs” instead of “thugs” to note how slow they were moving.
As it turns out, that explanation didn’t smooth things over with Cavs players.
Cue the Tupac
According to The Athletic, players trolled Beilein in the weeks after the film-room incident by playing “thug”-themed hip-hop when Beilein was in earshot. Think Tupac and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
From the report:
Instead, multiple players began playing songs that included the word “thug” whenever Beilein was within earshot, sources said: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” and Tupac’s “Thugz Mansion” among them. As the team boarded the bus a few days after the incident, one player was intentionally playing Trick Daddy’s “I’m a Thug” with Beilein a few feet away. Other players blasted songs with the word “thug” loudly during workouts in the facility. Players did this to make light of a very tough situation, according to one team source.
So it turns out everything wasn’t fine after Beilein called his team comprised of mostly black players “thugs.”
“There was no coming back from that,” an anonymous Cavs player told The Athletic.
“The worst part to me was not owning that he said it,” another told The Athletic.
Beilein’s next step?
Beilein will likely recover, with the timing of his exit arriving just in time for him to prep and be available for the upcoming college coaching carousel. Independent of his poor word choice that day, Beilein was never a good fit in the NBA and already had reported troubles gaining the respect of his professional players.
But he’s a proven college coach who should have no trouble finding an NCAA job as one of the top candidates on the market once openings become available.
More from Yahoo Sports: