Cavaliers' Beilein Weighing Whether To Stay On As Coach

Sam Amico

CLEVELAND -- John Beilein may be stepping down as coach of the Cavaliers before they play another game, according to a report from ESPN.

Beilein is expected to discuss his future in a meeting with GM Koby Altman, possibly as soon as Monday.

"Just in watching some postgame (press conferences), he hasn't looked like he's happy there," one Western Conference GM told "I don't know that for a fact, I am just watching from afar. But appearances can say a lot."

Beilein, 67, signed a five-year deal with Cleveland before the season. He spent 40 years coaching in college, including the previous 12 at Michigan. This is his first year in the NBA in any capacity.

"Cleveland ownership and management had been determined to see through a difficult start with him, but it's become increasingly apparent to the front office and Beilein that the partnership was headed to an inevitable split," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported, citing league sources.

The Cavs exit the All-Star break with a record of 14-40, worst in the Eastern Conference.

Altman and assistant GM Mike Gansey were instrumental in bringing Beilein to the Cavs. Gansey played for Beilein at West Virginia when the Mountaineers upset Chris Paul and Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament in 2005, advancing to the Elite Eight.

Beilein has had a rough first NBA season, with reports of player unrest in December and an incident at a film session in early January in which he admittedly referred to the players as "thugs." Beilein said he misspoke.

"Friends and associates of Beilein have described him as unhappy -- even miserable -- with the move to the Cavaliers," Wojnarowski reported. "The losing that comes with a rebuild, as well as several skirmishes in public and private with players, has played a part in the rapid deterioration of tenure, sources said.”

On top of all that, the Cavs reportedly tried to trade Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson ahead of the Feb. 6 deadline, but were unable to move either player. 

Instead, they made a deal for center Andre Drummond, the league's leading rebounder and another veteran for Beilein to try to mix in with young guards Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr.

After scrapping their way to a somewhat surprising 4-5 start, the Cavs have seemingly regressed, suffering multiple blowout losses. Until defeating Atlanta last week, they had lost 12 straight at home.

Along the way, Beilein has struggled to connect with his players and the team has lost faith in his leadership, according to Wojnarowski.

Beilein's top assistant is J.B. Bickerstaff, the former head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies and the son of Cavs senior adviser Bernie Bickerstaff.

The Cavaliers return to action Friday at Washington.

Comments (1)

At this point Beilein has to go. Just the idea that he is considering quitting is poison to the locker room. Time for J.B. Shame though. I liked Beilein and was hopeful he would at least make 3 years. Seems he has some personal issues with his son's firing too, which doesn't help. I may be one of the few that didn't think the Beilein hire was a bad idea.