According to sources, Beilen will receive a five-year deal, and he informed the Michigan administration of his decision to leave for the NBA early Monday morning. Sources said Beilein interviewed with Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman and a few front office members early last week in Ann Arbor and the two sides agreed to keep those conversations quiet out of respect for the university.
After that meeting, the Cavs continued with the rest of their interviews. Beilein talked face to face with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert on Friday and both sides started moving closer to an agreement. Cleveland then went on with the remainder of its scheduled interviews. Following meetings with Orlando’s Steve Hetzel, Denver’s Jordi Fernandez and Wes Unseld Jr., and Portland’s David Vanterpool, the Cavs believed Beilein was the best person for the job, no longer needing another round of interviews with the candidates.
“He takes players right out of high school and turns them into lottery picks,” one source close to the hire told cleveland.com.
Tim Hardaway Jr. ranked No. 161 in his class out of high school and became a late first-round pick. Mitch McGary and Moritz Wagner were also groomed into first-rounders with Beilein’s help.
Cavs chairman Dan Gilbert said in a team statement released just before noon today:
“We could not be more thrilled to name John Beilein as the new coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. First, John is a great human being. He cares deeply about his players and others who work for him and around him. He defines the words class, integrity and character. He is a tireless worker who obsesses about finding better ways and the inches that will help his team and the organization grow.
"John is a brilliant basketball mind and last but not least, John Beilein is a winner. I also want to thank Koby and his hardworking staff for turning over every rock while relentlessly searching for our new head coach since the minute this past season ended. It is no surprise that Koby and his team landed on John Beilein as great cultures attract others who hold the same values as the foundation for everything they do. I can’t wait for next season to begin.”
Altman said in the same statement:
“We conducted a deep and thorough search to find the best possible candidate for the next head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. We interviewed several strong and talented candidates who, no doubt, will get an opportunity to become an NBA head coach somewhere down the line.
“Following the end of those interviews, it became clear to us that Coach Beilein was the right choice and best fit for our franchise. John is one of the most accomplished and innovative basketball minds and leaders in the entire game. He has a unique ability to create an outstanding culture that will promote the development of young players and provide a solid structure to the entire program; not to mention the fact that John Beilein wins everywhere he goes. We are excited Coach Beilein is joining our organization as we continue to build the foundation that any enterprise needs to be successful and competitive year in and year out.”
The Cavs began this extensive search looking for a culture-driving coach with a player-development background, one who also uses analytics in that approach. Beilein, considered by the Cavs to be an elite offensive tactician and great teacher who has mentored a variety of different players, fits the profile.
He led Michigan to a 278–150 (.650) record over 12 years, getting to two Final Fours and winning four Big Ten tournament and regular-season titles. He took over at Michigan following a solid run at West Virginia, where he went 104-60 (.576) and led the Mountaineers to two NCAA Tournament berths. Beilein coached Cavaliers assistant GM Mike Gansey during that time with the Mountaineers, and Gansey has long been a big proponent of Beilein’s coaching and development style.
Beilein becomes the latest college coach to make the NBA leap — those coaches having mixed results. He interviewed with the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic last offseason before ultimately opting to stay with the Wolverines. Beilein, according to sources, believes this young group in the midst of a rebuild is a better fit than last year’s Pistons would have been.
The Cavs’ young nucleus is made up of Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, Larry Nance Jr. and a 14 percent chance at winning the lottery Tuesday night. Cleveland also has a good mix of veterans, with Kevin Love, Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson taking on larger leadership roles during a rocky 2018-19 season.
Beilein replaces Larry Drew, who took over after Tyronn Lue was fired six games into the campaign. The Cavs finished with a 19-63 record, tied with Phoenix for the second-worst mark in the NBA.
According to sources, the Cavs plan to surround Beilein with an experienced staff, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one of the many candidates who interviewed for the head-coaching job become Beilein’s associate head coach.
Beilein confirmed the news on social media early Monday morning.
“Thanks to everyone at the Univ. of Michigan for their incredible support these last 12 years. Our fans, alums, leaders, players and students are amazing,” he wrote. “It has been a heck of a ride and I hope you enjoyed our teams and staff as much as I did! Go Blue Forever!”