John Beilein’s future with Cleveland Cavaliers is unclear amid difficult season

Cleveland Cavaliers coach John Beilein’s future with the team is up in the air, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.

ESPN reported Beilein could step aside as early as this week, while The Athletic reported it is possible Beilein finishes the season.

Assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who has head coaching experience with Memphis and Houston, would be the likely candidate to replace Beilein in season. Bickerstaff's dad, former NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff, is a senior basketball advisor in Cleveland's front office. 

The Cavs are plotting their next steps, but news of this comes during the NBA’s All-Star break, a time when front office staffers and coaches take short vacations.

Under head coach John Beilein, the Cleveland Cavaliers are 14-40 and in last place in the Eastern Conference. (Photo: David Richard, USA TODAY Sports)

Beilein could be trying to gain some support within the organization during a difficult season, but his willingness to potentially walk from the job likely does not sit well with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

As Beilein and the Cavs determine his future, it’s clear this has been a trying season for the first-time NBA coach who left a good situation at the University of Michigan for a difficult NBA job with a rebuilding team. Known for developing and getting the most of out his players, Beilein has struggled with Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.

The Cavs believed Beilein’s experience with younger players throughout his successful college career would translate to the NBA. That hasn’t happened, and Beilein’s style hasn’t sat well with veterans who have expressed their frustration privately and publicly.

Beilein also had to apologize to players for using the word thug instead of slug in a film session.

The Cavs are 14-40 and in last place in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs have had embarrassing 30-point losses this season, and a recent 131-112 home loss against Golden State, in which Cleveland trailed by 32 points, prompted Beilein to tell reporters, “I don’t have a lot of answers for you though, I really don’t.”

Cleveland resumes play Friday at Washington.

Also, Beilein’s son, Patrick, resigned from his job as coach of Niagara in October, citing personal reasons.

“Personal reasons I can no longer take lightly have led me to step away from my dream job," his statement read. "Going forward, I must give singular focus to dealing with these issues, so that I can become the man that I strive to be. In time, it is my hope that I can be more open about my ongoing circumstances, but in the meantime, I thank you all for respecting my family’s need for privacy and for all of your continued support.”

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