Beilein becomes the Cavaliers sixth coach since 2010, replacing Larry Drew. He was the coach at the University of Michigan for the last 12 years. Gilbert lives in Detroit and is a Michigan State supporter.
Additionally, Altman expressed how Beilein has been able to get the most out of his talent, even with his former players not being highly recruited, such as Caris LeVert (who is a good young playmaker on the Brooklyn Nets), and it’s clear that Beilein’s team is going to be about making the right play overall, and that includes embracing analytics, which is a crucial part of what will determine whether or not the Cavs can turn things around in the coming years (last season they finished just 19-63, per NBA.com).
This narrative that I drove this (Beilein hiring) is wrong, said Gilbert. A few weeks ago, Koby brought up John to me. I obviously knew who he was, but I never met him.
All eight loved him,” said Gilbert. “All eight wanted to hire him. They were polled individually. That caught my attention. This was a week before I met with John.
We’ve emphasized how Altman and the organization has been looking for a “culture driver” for their next head coach, and you could see why the Cavs believed that is going to be Beilein in his press conference. Altman touched on that in his introduction of Beilein, which was nice to hear, courtesy of Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com.
On May 10, Gilbert went to meet with Beilein at the coachs home in Ann Arbor. There was no agent involved, just the owner and the coach.
Beilein seems to clearly embody what Cleveland has been preaching for a while now, in terms of having a tremendous work ethic, being of the highest character, and being team-first. You could see a glimpse of his work ethic before his introductory press conference on Tuesday at the Cleveland Clinic Courts (courtesy of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Official Twitter).
John Beilein doesnt view Cleveland Cavaliers as a rebuild
I asked him, If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? said Gilbert. Most people say, Im a workaholic…Im a perfectionist. They rarely admit to anything they really need to change.
When it comes to efficiency and how that correlates to his coaching style with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Beilein gave a potential example for Collin Sexton (who was recently named to the NBA All-Rookie second team, per Wojnarowski), who showed signs of making better reads down the stretch of last season, but has a ways to go still as a playmaker (courtesy of Davies).
But Beilein told Gilbert, I sometimes make things a little too complicated. I have too many plays.
Having the extensively-experienced J.B. Bickerstaff now as his associate head coach (but who is only 40) should help in that regard, too. Beilein also noted how he’s excited to get to work with players such as Collin Sexton and Larry Nance Jr., who attended Beilein’s presser and were practicing, and praised both’s work ethic (again, per Davies).
Gilbert loved the unpretentious meeting at the coachs house. He loved the story of Beileins journey from a junior varsity high school coach to coaching at every college level – and now to the NBA.
Video: Best of new Cavs head coach John Beileins introductory press conference
Within 90 seconds, you feel like youve known him all your life, said Gilbert. You couldnt find anyone to say anything bad about the guy.
Beilein is 66. He had heart by-pass surgery on August 7, 2018. The coach didnt know he had a heart problem. It was discovered during a regular physical exam.
He is in better shape now than before, said Gilbert. He is incredibly thin. His personality is that of a 40-year-old. Age is just a number. My father always said that. I believe it. He lived to be 91.”
There is a report that we had to pay him all this money, said Gilbert. Its a good contract, but the salary is very reasonable.
With LeBron (James), there was a limited shelf life in terms of his age and his contract commitment, said Gilbert. Its a win now at all costs. . . It all revolves around the sun, which is him.”
Gilberts point was the team couldnt develop players during the four seasons of James second tour with the Cavs (2014-18). The goal was to surround James with veterans to push for a title.
Gilbert said some of the coaching changes were due to the win-now culture with LeBron. But those also were the best four seasons in franchise history, the 2016 title and four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals.
Heading into the 2017-18 season, the Cavs knew James could leave as a free agent because he had an out-clause in his contract.
Unless someone has at least verbally committed, you had to assume that could happen, said Gilbert. We were better prepared this time around.”
Gilbert noted the Kyrie Irving trade with Boston led to the Cavs adding young players Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson.
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After the 2017 playoffs, Irving demanded a trade. The All-Star guard had two years left on his contract. Gilbert said the longer they waited to deal Irving, the more his value would drop.
It becomes a melting snowball, said the owner. We had to trade him when we did. What team would want Kyrie with only one year on his contract knowing he could leave after the season? You wont get much back (under those circumstances).
The agent was telling us, if we dont trade him, there is some surgery he is on the borderline of having on his knee, said Gilbert. It was possible he could be out for most of the year. It turned out to be true.
Irving missed the 2018 playoffs because he had two knee surgeries. He was relatively healthy this season, but the Celtics had a rocky year and were wiped out of the post-season in the second round.
I dont know, but I think Kyrie will leave Boston, said Gilbert. We could have ended up with nothing. Looking back after all the moves Koby made, we killed it in that trade.
Gilbert knows theres no quick-fix coming as happened after James left in the summer of 2010. Back then, the front office thought there was a possibility the Akron native could return in four years, which happened.
We have to build a culture and a team, beyond just adding a lot more talent, said Gilbert. I really believe in this front office and the coaching staff. We are putting together a team based on culture and character.
Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard, left, talks with center Bam Adebayo during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) – Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard, left, talks with center Bam Adebayo during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
At the onset of the search for a new basketball coach, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said he was looking for someone with head coaching experience. It was presented as a preference, not a requirement.
And yet, it is believed that Manuel will be meeting with Juwan Howard, a candidate with no head coaching experience, about the job on Tuesday. It may have already happened.
Part of that is the nature of a coaching search. Howard is a high-profile alum, having played for Michigan for three seasons as a key member of the “Fab Five.” His name was publicly linked to the job — in so far as many considered him a capable option — as soon as it came open.
As an assistant coach the past six seasons with the Miami Heat, Howard has become a respected figure throughout the NBA. He has interviewed for multiple head coaching vacancies in the league over the past couple of years.
Howard worked with Miamis frontcourt players and serves as the teams defensive coordinator. The Heat, despite finishing under .500 this past season, ranked seventh in the league in defensive rating.
Howard is not getting a meeting with Manuel solely because of his name and connection to Michigan. But those elements dont hurt his cause, and Manuel has to tread carefully when dealing with a prominent alum.
“Whether he gets job or not, managing him personally is going to be a huge thing,” an industry source said. “Hes got to walk away feeling he wasnt disrespected.”
St. Josephs had a similar situation two months ago during its coaching search. Former star player Jameer Nelson was a candidate and received an interview. He didnt get the job and, shortly after, his son decommitted from the program.
If talks between the two sides progress, surely the topic of Howards potential staff would be at the forefront.
Howards entire coaching career has been spent as an NBA assistant. This does not preclude him from being a successful college head coach, but hes a gamble. A gamble whose odds can be improved, experts say, by pairing him with a veteran assistant.
That assistant would, ideally, have a long history as a college coach. It would be even better if hed been a head coach at some point.
At Georgetown, thats exactly whats happened two years ago. First-time head coach Patrick Ewing, a former star with the Hoyas whose only coaching experience was as an NBA assistant, was paired with Louis Orr. Orr had spent more than 20 years on a college sideline, including 13 seasons as a Division I head coach. Ewing, who just wrapped his second season at Georgetown, appears to have things headed in the right direction.
St. Johns went a different route when it hired a famous alum to lead the basketball program. Chris Mullin surrounded himself with relatively young, relatively inexperienced assistants whose primarily skills were in recruiting. Mullin stepped down in April after four seasons in which he posted a 59-73 record.
Penny Hardaway — one promising season into his coaching career at Memphis — has veteran coach Tony Madlock on his staff.
There are candidates out there certainly looking to get back into coaching: former Ohio State head coach Thad Matta and former Georgetown head coach John Thompson III, to name two. It remains to be seen whether either would consider an assistant gig.
After hiring John Beilein from Michigan, the Cleveland Cavaliers next move was to bring in veteran NBA coach J.B. Bickerstaff as the lead assistant. Beilein has no NBA experience, so the move made sense.