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Report: Cavaliers keeping John Beilein as coach after slugs-thugs jumble

John Beilein

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 08: Head coach John Beilein of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on against the Washington Wizards in the second half at Capital One Arena on November 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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DETROIT – Cavaliers coach John Beilein has been quite busy since calling his players “thugs” yesterday. Beilein – who said he misspoke when trying to use the word “slugs” – contacted his players individually to apologize last night. He apologized to them collectively again at shootaround this morning. He explained himself further publicly after shootaround.

Amidst all that, Beilein said he talked to Cavs general manager Koby Altman “quite a bit.” Beilein said in conversations with Altman, the coach’s future with Cleveland never came up.

But it was obviously discussed, and the Cavaliers have reached a verdict.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Cavs forward Larry Nance Jr. must have been accurate when he said, “I don’t think there’s any player on the team that believes there was malintent behind it.” Because if players objected, Beilein would likely be gone.

The NBA is rarely proactive about these things. It usually depends on the response.

The response here was trusting Beilein.

I don’t envy anyone from the organization trying to determine what word Beilein intended to use. “Slugs” is plausible. “Thugs” is plausible. Absent other information, what choice is there but to take him at his word? That might be unsatisfying, but it’s better than destroying his reputation over a potential misunderstanding.

Beilein still has numerous problems in Cleveland, though. The Cavaliers are just 10-27. His players have rebelled against him. Highly paid star Kevin Love has repeatedly acted out.

If he wants to keep his job long-term, Beilein has more work to do than handling just this situation.