More Details On Cavaliers/John Beilein Split

John Beilein‘s stint as Cavaliers head coach has come to an abrupt end halfway through his first season in Cleveland, and there were warning signs even before the regular season began that things could be headed in this direction, according to a new report from Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd, and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

The Athletic’s trio suggests that players began to tune out Beilein during training camp, and there were already signals at that point that the new head coach was unhappy in Cleveland. After a pair of preseason blowout losses to the Celtics, league sources were saying that Beilein was second-guessing his decision to leave college for the pros, per The Athletic.

Beilein’s tone toward players was said to be an issue throughout the season, as he allegedly nitpicked fundamentals and displayed an inability to adapt to the NBA’s offensive and defensive structures, according to Charania, Lloyd, and Vardon.

“He was a dictator — not a coach suited for today’s NBA,” one source told The Athletic.

While players were immediately turned off by Beilein’s style, the longtime college coach was “stunned” by the culture in the NBA, according to The Athletic. He was surprised by players’ “revulsion” to long film sessions and practices, and wasn’t accustomed to things like load management – such as Kevin Love sitting out half of back-to-back sets – or trades, which he didn’t have to deal with in college. The Athletic’s report indicates Beilein had a hard time adjusting on offense after the Cavs sent Jordan Clarkson to Utah in December.

The Athletic’s report paints a picture of a marriage between team and coach that was doomed from the start. Here are a few more of the most notable details from the story:

  • Recently-acquired center Andre Drummond didn’t take to Beilein at all upon joining the Cavs earlier this month. One source told The Athletic that Drummond said the situation in Cleveland was worse than the one he’d come from in Detroit. The veteran center reportedly indicated he’d walk in free agency if Beilein was still the Cavs’ coach, Lloyd said in a radio appearance (Twitter link via Keith Britton of 92.3 The Fan).
  • After Beilein said in a January film session that his team had been playing like “thugs,” he apologized, claiming that he had meant to say “slugs.” But several players never really bought that explanation, per The Athletic. “There was no coming back from that,” said one player, who suggested the excuse was an insult to the players’ intelligence. After that incident, a handful of players began blasting songs that prominently featured the word “thug” when Beilein was within earshot, sources told Charania, Lloyd, and Vardon.
  • The Athletic trio suggests that team owner Dan Gilbert may have had a hand in steering the head coaching search toward Beilein, despite his denials that it was his decision. One source told The Athletic that GM Koby Altman and his front office were at least more on board with Beilein than the previous group – led by David Griffin – was with the David Blatt hire in 2014.
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46 thoughts on “More Details On Cavaliers/John Beilein Split

  1. Jason Lancaster

    So “old white man angry that he doesn’t have total and complete control over young black men,” basically?

    I’m sure the NCAA will welcome him back with open arms.

      • segman84

        I don’t think it is really about race. I think he wanted the unfettered power he had in the NCAA. Another reason I never support college hoops

          • segman84

            Last college game I watched was UConn/Butler title game. I support the G-League and I’ve gotten into the NBL lately

        • Jason Lancaster

          Well, I’d be with you 100% if it weren’t for the thugs comment. But yes, college sports are exploitative and I too won’t support them.

      • tomjoadsghost

        That’s right. Beilein and college sports cartel are happy to exploit any ethnicity.

      • The Mistake of Giving Eugene Melnyk a Liver Transplant

        Beilein is the one who introduced the race element when he called his team thugs and then offered his “weak” excuse.

      • Jason Lancaster

        I agree! Beilien should remove the word thug from his vocabulary and consider why he used that word in the first place.

    • RenAvi

      Old white man = coach
      Young black men (not all black) = players
      Then your comment takes a different turn…

    • Black Ace57

      The Wolverines had a diverse group of players in terms of race and ethnicity when he coached in college, and the player who is the max contract guy on his team who he butted heads with the most is Kevin Love who is white, but go ahead and make it a race issue.

      Big piece of advice that will be a good life lesson for you Jason, “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.” He is an old college coach who couldn’t adjust to the NBA. That’s it.

      • Jason Lancaster

        Ya, I’M the one that made all of this about race. Did you forget the thugs comment?

        I like how people go out of there way to make excuses for an old white guy who said something awful – and who news reports paint as “dictatorial” – but get mad when someone states that race was part of the dynamic.

        What America do YOU live in? Because racism is everywhere, if you’re willing to see it.

        • ctside26

          Last time I checked – Stephen A was an African American man – who stated he had zero problem with Beilien using the thug word – it was done behind closed doors and that’s where it should of stayed.

  2. traveling man

    OF COURSE it can’t be that he is a good man who busted his ass trying to instill values and respect!
    Who wanted to do things the right way.
    Wanted to teach scumbags the right way to be.

    He didn’t put up with laziness and garbage.

    I’m sure he’s relieved to be relieved and I wish him the best.

    • Jason Lancaster

      Good: Dictatorial old man who used racist codeword
      Bad: Young athletes who refuse to be bullied by old racist

      Do I understand you correctly?

      • RenAvi

        What racist spy school did he go to learn this CODEWORD?! We must petition their closure! We can’t have Racist Spies out there repeating their super secret CODEWORD that they for some reason say in public…

      • mcmillankmm

        Yeah…it must be all Beilein’s fault who was successful at every job….except for the Cavs who have been continual losers every year without LeBron…maybe if Kevin Love wasn’t such a crybaby

  3. Skip, Tampa

    Absolutely correct way to look this misadventure. Got every player today thinks they are a Max. Very few willing to actually work for it. Can’t change a team culture without breaking a few egg shells.
    Burnt omlettes for everyone.

  4. x%sure

    The ‘mutiny’ is thought to come from the vets but the decision to trade 4 secondrounders for Kevin Porter, regarded as a discoplinary problem, was also a likely factor. He has shown talent but also sports an immature style that is not a fit… not really NBA-mainstream black but more like a 90s pop singer. It will be interesting to see if Bickerstaff has an influence on him.

    And of course the team in general. Bickerstaff struck me in Memphis as a truth-teller, while Beilein (in intention) was a culture-developer. Altman is big on the latter but for this season, Bickerstaff will be like medicine (or whatever he learned from doing this before).

    • victorg

      so if he did say and mean THUGS what does that mean that they were playing rough and dirty ? which i do not see as the case … so i do buy the slugs because yes when i do watch the cavs … they are literally slow like slugs.

      • x%sure

        The Cavs are not thuggish and sluggish, depends on definition. Kind of funny to think they were called that, so I guess you had to be there in the room.

        I wish they were more thuggish, but they are soft, fast, scattered. Sexton probably wishes the court was longer to outrun more people. TV commentator Austin Carr often says things like “They need to take more personally this half, not get pushed around”.

        The Cavs are middle of the pack in shot clock usage and are not historically fast-breaking. I doubt Cavs fans would want them differently in pace. But ‘sluggish’ can also mean slow in responding: true for them.

  5. turner9

    Wow comments on this article aren’t what I expected

    I was going to ask the difference between Beilein and a coach like Nurse or Budz

    Nurse and Budz can get their teams onboard with hard practices, buying into team first concepts, playing hard on D and long film sessions

    Is it because they are winning teams?
    Is it because the mentality of the players are different?

    Please dont respond with a race comment, I’m not interested in hearing that, this isnt the forum to be having racially motivated discussions

    • RenAvi

      I think this is the exception because the subject is specifically about race. Be sure to write the editors about your suggestion.

    • x%sure

      Altman might say he’s doing what those teams did, except 4 years or so later– Finding moldable talent & developing them, while looking past existing talent with mature attitudes (a Lebron-type approach).

      As for a coach, to get your foot in the door, its best to fit in with a development philosophy. I am dubious; That’s also good for keeping your job longer while the youth percolates. ORL & SAC do that, while MIL & TOR have been solid for a pretty long time.

      “Timeline” is a key word, whether the players match or not. It is odd to want them to, IMO.

    • Jason Lancaster

      “Don’t tell me that this racially tinged event has a racist component; I don’t want to hear it!”

      Cool bro. Make America Great Again, right?

      • turner9

        I’m Canadian bruh

        I dont see colour.

        I’m a white Muslim. I know all about discrimination

        But I’m not interested in talking about it here

        Can I ask you. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you really think this approach is the best way to end racism?

        Because from an outsider perspective you’re only making yourself look like a racist and having 0 impact on racial issues in the USA

  6. victorg

    so if he did say and mean THUGS what does that mean that they were playing rough and dirty ? which i do not see as the case … so i do buy the slugs because yes when i do watch the cavs … they are literally slow like slugs.

  7. Ezpkns34

    Iverson’s rant on how useless practice is …. that’s pretty much the mindset of most players. Which makes a nitpicky coach who Loves practice a bad fit for any NBA team really

    Cleveland was gonna lose 50+ games regardless of who coached them this year

  8. funkadillo2

    No surprise that Drummond hated him. For someone of his talent level he’s the laziest player I’ve ever seen.

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