1:06pm: Cleveland plans to have Beilein coach tonight’s game and stick with him going forward, Wojnarowski tweets. The coach met with Altman and gave an emotional apology to the team before today’s shootaround. Altman got a sense of how accepting the players were of the apology, Woj adds (via Twitter).
9:15am: The Cavaliers‘ season hasn’t exactly gone smoothly so far, and a comment made this week by head coach John Beilein didn’t help matters. Addressing players during a recent film session, Beilein said the team was no longer playing “like a bunch of thugs.” The coach acknowledged the misstep, claiming that he meant to say “slugs,” as in the team was playing too slow.
“I didn’t realize that I had said the word ‘thugs,’ but my staff told me later I did and so I must have said it,” Beilein told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com. “I meant to say slugs, as in slow-moving. We weren’t playing hard before, and now we were playing harder. I meant it as a compliment. That’s what I was trying to say. I’ve already talked to eight of my players tonight, and they are telling me that they understand.”
Multiple players declined to comment when Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reached out for comment, though he hears that feedback this morning was that the team is “OK.” Players understand the coach’s explanation and feel comfortable moving forward. Some players weren’t even aware that Beilein made the comments initially.
In addition to players, Beilein has also spoken to GM Koby Altman on the matter. Beilein, who spent over 40 years coaching in the college ranks, signed a five-year contract to be Cleveland’s coach this offseason. A report in December suggested that his coaching style was alienating some of the Cavs’ players.
The Cavs are 10-27 on the season and many of their veterans are available on the trade market, Woj notes.