It's total chaos in Cleveland, just a few months removed from the Cavs' fourth straight NBA Finals appearance. LeBron left, Kevin Love is still injury prone, Tyronn Lue was fired less than a month into the season, and interim coach Larry Drew barely wants the job. You know things are helter-skelter when J.R. Smith explicitly asks out. Now Jim Boylan, the 63-year-old assistant for the Cavs from 2013-2018, who left over the summer, is suing the team for age discrimination.
Here's Ty Lue's—per Boylan's filing in Cuyahoga County on Nov. 1, which you can read in full below—voicemail message informing Boylan he'd been let go because the Cavs didn't want to pick up his option, and instead wanted to go with younger assistants, per NBC's WKYC affiliate in Cleveland:
"Jimbo, what’s up, yo? This is T Lue. I had a talk with Koby [Altman, the general manager] 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. And he said he does not want to pick the option up for I guess it’s 500 or - I’m not sure.
"He said five something. And he just said it’s too much money, he said, so we’ll be paying Longabardi and LD. So he just said he wanted to go younger at that position and he does not want to pick up the option.” “But give me a call back if you get a chance. If you don’t, I just want to thank you for everything and for everything you’ve given to me, stuff I’ve learned from you, helped me through all the situations, the health situations, and just being a young coach, man. You know, I hate to see this shit end like this, but I mean, I mean you try to (inaudible) to do this. Unbelievable, man. And so, you know, I just wanted to let you know that.” “So I’ll try to give you a call, but that’s kind of what Koby’s thinking is, and that’s kind of where Dan was at. And so I just wanted to, you know, give you a call, you know, to tell you that."
The lawsuit also notes that 42-year-old Damon Jones—the victim when J.R. Smith turned soup into a weapon—replaced Boylan on the staff, and the Cavs brought back Mike Longabardi, 45, and James Posey, 41, as assistants. The Cavs also let Phil Handy leave over the summer, which was reported at the time as the result of a pay-cut Gilbert instituted (Handy is now coaching under Nick Nurse in Toronto). According to the suit, Gilbert—whose incompetence as an owner we touched on here—has a history of this sort of ageism:
"Defendants [Altman, Gilbert, Cavaliers Holdings, LLC and Cavaliers Operating Company, LLC] discriminate against employees and candidates for employment on the basis of age with respect to hiring, renewal, termination, pay, raises, benefits, and in the terms and conditions of employment," the suit asserts. "Defendants discriminatorily favor younger less qualified candidates and employees over substantially older employees."
The Cavs are a hot mess. We're glad LeBron got their fans a chip in 2016 because, like the Knicks and James Dolan, they're unlikely to see success while someone like Gilbert is at the reins.
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