Many have been left wondering how John Beilein’s short stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers came to such an abrupt end. According to Shams Charania, Joe Vardon, and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, the former Cavs coach was viewed as “a dictator,” a 67-year-old coach who ruled with an iron fist and failed to adapt to the nature of NBA players or building relationships with them.
“He was a dictator — not a coach suited for today’s NBA,” a source said.
Beilein came from coaching the Michigan Wolverines for the past decade-plus, completely foreign to the workings of the NBA, the hierarchies, the star player treatment, and the way players have to be approached and coached through an 82-game season.
Many viewed Beilein as unfit to coach at this level, considering his tone in film sessions, practice, and his lack of personable rapport with the key cogs on his team.
Andre Drummond, who has been a member of the team for less than two weeks, reportedly gave an ultimatum of either he or Beilein. The Cavs were fine with the easiest option, which involved putting an end to this relationship, considering the front office had traded for Drummond with a vision in mind.
His incident during a film session on Jan. 8, when he called his players “thugs,” made matters all the worse, as his futile attempt to convince players he intended to say the word “slugs” was laughable and infantile.
John Beilein later apologized for his mistake, but players had already made their mind up that there was no coming back from that event.