Ex-coach files suit vs. Cavaliers for ageism
In June, the Cleveland Cavaliers fired Jim Boylan, who was an assistant to three head coaches and helped guide the franchise to four straight NBA Finals appearances and the 2016 title. Boylan, who was with the franchise since 2013, had recently turned 63. At the same time, the Cavaliers promoted player development coach Dan Geriot, just 29, and gave Damon Jones, 42, “a more robust coaching role,” per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst. Mike Gerrity, 32, was promoted from video staffer to director of player development. In August, the Cavaliers hired Terry Nooner, a 40year-old assistant with the Maryland women’s basketball team, as player development coach.
On Thursday, Boylan filed a lawsuit against the Cavaliers in Cuyahoga County Court in Ohio, claiming age discrimination.
Boylan is basing his lawsuit, in part, on the voice mail then-coach Tyronn Lue left for him informing him that he had been fired. Team owner Dan Gilbert and General Manager Koby Altman were named as defendants.
“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,” the lawsuit says Lue told Boylan in the voice mail. “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 [then-assistants Mike Longabardi and Larry Drew]. So he just said he wanted to go younger at that position, and he does not want to pick up the option.”
Lue went on to thank Boylan “for everything you’ve given to me” and said he hates “to see this s--- end like this.”
The lawsuit says Boylan then had a conversation with Altman, who told Boylan that he and Gilbert wanted a “younger” coach in the position and the “separation had nothing to do with Coach Boylan’s work or job performance.” It also alleges “a pattern and practice of age discrimination across Defendant Gilbert’s corporate organizations.”
Gilbert also is the founder of Quicken Loans, which has been the subject of age-discrimination lawsuits in the past.
Boylan seeks at least $25,000 in compensatory damages.
The Cavaliers fired Lue after an 0-6 start and named Drew, 60, its acting coach. A request for comment on the Boylan lawsuit was not immediately returned.