Michigan head coach John Beilein becomes surprise pick by Cavs

The Cavaliers‘ head coaching search came to an end on Monday — and reached a surprising resolution — as longtime University of Michigan head coach John Beilein will make the jump to the NBA. Beilein agreed to a five-year deal with the Cavs.

While we hadn’t heard word of the Cavs’ interest in Beilein before today, he interviewed with the club early last week in Ann Arbor and then spoke to owner Dan Gilbert face-to-face on Friday, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. As Fedor explains, the two sides agreed to keep those talks quiet out of respect for the university.

Meanwhile, Joe Vardon of The Athletic suggests (via Twitter) that Gilbert’s involvement in the process was a good sign that the Cavaliers were serious about the Wolverines’ coach. According to Vardon, at least four other head-coaching candidates who interviewed for the job didn’t meet with the Cavs’ owner.

Here’s more on the Cavs’ hiring of Beilein:

  • According to Fedor, it wouldn’t be a surprise if one of the candidates the Cavaliers interviewed for the opening becomes Beilein’s associate head coach. Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press notes (via Twitter) that Juwan Howard, who met with the Cavs, was viewed as a candidate to become Beilein’s lead assistant if Beilein had ended up with the Pistons last spring.
  • A source who spoke to Fedor pointed to Beilein’s ability to develop and mold young players as a key reason why the Cavaliers are hiring him. “He takes players right out of high school and turns them into lottery picks,” the source told Fedor, who cites Tim Hardaway Jr. as one Michigan player who wasn’t a highly sought-after recruit but ended up being drafted in the first round.
  • Cavaliers assistant GM Mike Gansey, who played for Beilein at West Virginia 15 years ago, was always a fan of Beilein’ abilities as a player development specialist and an offensive tactician, sources tell Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News (Twitter link).
  • The Cavs like Beilein’s offensive system, which is predicated on outside shooting, ball movement and constant motion, writes Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. As Amico outlines, the team views that system as one that can succeed even without star players.

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