John Beilein’s tenure as a Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coach is over after just 54 games. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Cavs and Beilein decided to part ways with associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff taking over the team on a full-time basis.
Reportedly, Beilein will be officially out as Cleveland’s HC after the players return from the All-Star break. The two sides agreed to a contract termination, which will see Beilein being compensated for the rest of the salary for this season. He was on a five-year deal, which was paying him around $4 million a year.
The sources within the organization reveal that the reason for John Beilein and Cavs’ breakup is the 67-year-old’s inability to connect with the players. Despite having a proven record of success on the college level, Beilein struggled in NBA, and his team is currently 14-50, having the league’s worst record. While Cleveland initially decided to give their new coach enough time to adapt, it became clear that the union might not be set up for success.
According to reports, Cavs’ general manager Koby Altman brought up the topic of parting ways with Beilein before the All-Star Game, and after putting a lot of thought in it, the front office made a move.
Beilein previously worked for 40 years on the college level and was highly regarded for his work with younger players. Before coming to Cleveland, he spent 12 years with Michigan, leading the program to two Final Four appearances.
Cavaliers’ decision to turn to Bickerstaff as Beilein’s successor doesn’t come as a surprise. Bickerstaff was brought in as part of the team’s long-term succession plan, but due to circumstances, his time at the helm came quicker than anyone expected. He previously served as interim head coach with Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies.