John Beilein’s first season coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers has gone about as poorly as it possibly could so far. With a dismal 14-40 record, the Cavaliers are currently in the Eastern Conference’s basement, and several veterans, including 2016 champions Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, have reportedly tried to orchestrate midseason exits. Now, things are looking even grimmer for Cleveland’s coach. The Cavaliers are unlikely to bring him back next season, according to a report from Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and Kelsey Russo of The Athletic.
At one point, the timeline was even shorter. Beilein and the team discussed potentially stepping down during the All-Star Break, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and a final decision is expected to come down within the next 24-48 hours. No agreement has been reached at this point in time, but per The Athletic, Beilein was expected to meet with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert on Monday with the expectation that he will be out as Cleveland’s coach, either now or at the end of the season. As of Tuesday afternoon, though, there has not been an update. Beilein is in the first year of a five-year contract with the Cavaliers.
A number of factors have reportedly led to Beilein’s miserable season in Cleveland. He helmed one of the best programs in college basketball at Michigan, so losing at this level is obviously a stark contrast. His son Patrick also resigned from his position as head coach at Niagra for what has been called “personal reasons,” and that has reportedly weighed on the elder Beilein as well.
Adding to the tension was controversy earlier this season in which Beilein accidentally called his players “thugs” during a film session. He explained that he meant to say slugs, and he apologized to his players, but the damage was likely done. Such an incident likely left a lasting impact on the locker room.
Cleveland cycles through coaches faster than any other team in the NBA. Beilein is the team’s sixth since LeBron James left in free agency for the first time in 2010. No Cavs coach has lasted more than three full seasons since, including Ty Lue, who won a championship for them in 2016. Gilbert is just as hard to please when it comes to general managers. Koby Altman is the first one that he has ever granted a contract extension to.
Beilein was hired ostensibly to help develop an extremely young Cleveland roster, but former lottery picks Collin Sexton and Darius Garland have been largely underwhelming together this season. Whether that duo can work together for the long haul remains to be seen, but in all likelihood, it looks as though that determination will be made by a new head coach.