John Beilein flirted with the NBA last season. He flirted with the NBA earlier this offseason. And on Sunday, John Beilein finally left for the NBA.
"Michigan’s John Beilein has agreed to a five-year deal to become coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, league sources tell ESPN," Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted early on Monday morning, reporting that Beilein reached a deal over the weekend and informed the Michigan administration and players.
With Beilein out, who might replace him as head coach? It'd be the first men's basketball hire for athletics director Warde Manuel, who arrived in 2016, nearly a decade after Beilein took over.
In-house options: Assistant coaches Luke Yaklich and Saddi Washington, if they don't follow Beilein to Cleveland, might be in play. For what it's worth, as UConn athletics director in 2012, Manuel oversaw the transition from Jim Calhoun to Kevin Ollie.
While Yaklich nor Washington have head-turning high-major résumés (and Yaklich was coaching high school basketball six years ago), both have done marvelous work with the Wolverines, especially Yaklich as defensive coach. Either could be a short-term 2019-20 option or get the full-time job.
Dream hire: Brad Stevens. Michigan can exceed Stevens' current sub-$4-million annual salary and provide NBA-level perks and bonuses.
Butler head coach LaVall Jordan has the ties. A Michigan native who spent six seasons in Beilein's staff (2010-16) as the Wolverines transitioned into an annual Final Four contender. He's just 48-55 in three seasons as a head coach (one at Milwaukee, two at Butler) but is a rare young (40 years old) coach with head-coaching and high-major assistant experience.
Nate Oats would've been on a short list had he passed on Alabama and remained at Buffalo. Might the Wolverines still make a push for the former Michigan high school basketball coach? Matching his five-year contract (worth $2.45 million per season) is no issue, but would Oats bail after a month on his new job?
Some established head coaches to watch: Gregg Marshall is expensive and has turned down good opportunities in the past but could be an option, as could Steve Prohm, Scott Drew, Steve Pikiell and Bobby Hurley.