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For the first time since LeBron James left town for the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland had reason to celebrate basketball again, as the Cavaliers landed the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. As with most things having to do with the Cavs, save for that magical 2016 championship run, the celebration was fleeting.
Almost in conjunction with NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s All-Star announcement at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday, Cavaliers guard J.R. Smithpublicly acknowledged his desire to be traded, all but confirming that the team was entering full-blown tank mode as All-Star forward Kevin Love rested his nagging toe injury. The fire sale that signals a prolonged rebuilding project is billowing white smoke.
Now this: Former Cavaliers assistant coach Jim Boylan, a member of recently fired head coach Tyronn Lue’s championship staff two years ago, sued the organization for age discrimination on Thursday.
At the end of last season, both Lue and Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman allegedly told the 63-year-old Boylan that his contract would not be renewed because of the team’s interest in “going younger” at the coaching position, according to the lawsuit, which can be read in full at WKYC.com.
Indeed, the contracts for Boyland and 62-year-old Phil Handy were not renewed this past June, when the Cavaliers promoted former player development coach Dan Geriot, 29, to full-time assistant and gave Damon Jones, 42, “a more robust assistant coaching role,” according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The Cavs also retained Drew, 60, along with assistants Mike Longabardi, 45, and James Posey, 41. Coaches Mike Gerrity, 32, and Terry Nooner, 40, were also elevated in the player development program.
Jones was fired along with Lue last month.
According to the lawsuit, Lue left a message for Boylan that included the following on June 17:
“Jimbo, what’s up, yo? This is T Lue. I had a talk with Koby yesterday. He does not want to pick up your option. He said it’s way too much money. They’re not gonna pay that kind of money for three assistants on the bench. He wants to go younger in that position and, you know, find somebody who’s a grinder and younger in that position.”
According to the lawsuit, Boylan then had a conversation with Altman, who informed him that the franchise was looking for someone “younger” and the change had nothing to do with the coach’s performance. A point guard on Marquette’s NCAA title team in 1977, Boylan began his coaching career in Switzerland after a brief stint playing overseas. He has coached in the NBA since the early 1990s.
The lawsuit also alleges that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert played a role in Boylan’s departure, citing “a pattern and practice of age discrimination across Defendant Gilbert’s corporate organizations.” Quicken Loans, which Gilbert founded, has been the subject of a number of discriminatory lawsuits.
Boylan is seeking compensatory damages “in excess of $25,000” from the Cavaliers.
Other than all of that, everything is going great as far as Cleveland basketball is concerned.
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