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Beilein exited Cleveland less than one season into the five-year contract he signed to coach the Cavaliers last offseason. The deal included four years guaranteed and a team option for the fifth year. Beilein was set to earn more than $4 million in salary per season over the life of the deal, according to ESPN.
Instead, Beilein, who struggled to adjust to the NBA after decades coaching college basketball, negotiated a settlement that will pay him a portion of the money he would have earned for the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season. The remaining $12 million to $16 million in guaranteed money that Beilein would have earned was effectively erased.
The Cavaliers amassed the worst record in the Eastern Conference during the first half of the season, winning just 14 games against 40 losses.
Beilein, 67, repeatedly clashed with Cavaliers players throughout the season. The most notable incident occurred during a heated film session in January when Beilein told players that they were no longer playing “like a bunch of thugs.”
He later said he had misspoken and meant to use the word “slugs.” While he addressed the incident during individual meetings with players, the misstep marked a major setback for team chemistry and relations.
Beilein will become just the third first-year coach in the last three decades to last less than one season into a new contract, according to ESPN.
A longtime head coach at the University of Michigan, Beilein led the Wolverines to two Final Four appearances during his tenure. Prior to signing with the Cavaliers, he was considered one of college basketball’s most venerated coaches.