CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Cavaliers and head coach John Beilein believe he's coached his final game with them, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Cavaliers had planned for a Beilein-Bickerstaff succession plan, but never imagined it would come at the All-Star break of Beilein's first season. Bickerstaff would be promoted to the full-time coaching role, not on an interim basis, per sources. https://t.co/AnQH9aUaT0— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 18, 2020
Beilein and the Cavs have no resolution yet in terms of a contract settlement.
The 67-year-old former Michigan coach struggled to get through the season’s unofficial first half with the young Cavaliers, who have the worst record in the Eastern Conference.
Assistant coach JB Bickerstaff would be promoted to head coach, and not in an interim capacity, Wojnarowski reports.
It’s been a rough transition to the pro game for Beilein, who was wildly successful as a college coach in the past 12 seasons with the Wolverines. Beilein was a surprising hire by the Cavs, who convinced him he was the right choice and enticed him to leave the Big Ten powerhouse and sign a five-year contract in May.
Along with their woeful 14-40 record, there have been reports that players have not been pleased with Beilein’s coaching style, calling it simplistic with too much emphasis on fundamentals. Beilein seems to have his players’ respect, but it’s been a challenge for him to connect on the same personal level as he did with college kids.
When they hired Beilein, the Cavs felt he was the perfect coach to help develop young players such as second-year guard Collin Sexton, rookie Darius Garland and forward Larry Nance. Jr. But Cleveland has been plagued by scoring droughts, poor defense and late-game collapses with the Cavs’ inexperience emerging and hurting them at the worst possible times.
A shake-up was expected at the trading deadline, but instead of dealing either star forward Kevin Love or Tristan Thompson, the Cavs acquired two-time All-Star center Andre Drummond in a deal with the Pistons.
The Cavs were hoping the move would give them a spark or at least appease a fan base becoming more disenchanted with every lopsided loss. However, Cleveland suffered its worst home loss in 50 years in Drummond’s debut before snapping a 12-game home losing streak with a win in the final game before the All-Star break.
Beilein went 829-468 as a college coach. He won 428 games at Michigan and the Wolverines made the NCAA Tournament nine times and twice advanced to the Final Four in his 12 seasons.
The Cavs' next game is on Friday in Washington.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.