The Cleveland Cavaliers hit a bump in the road on Friday afternoon when a report dropped about the leadership style of new head coach John Beilein. The story indicated that a collection of players have some reservations about how the longtime college coach led his team, which is in the midst of a lengthy losing streak.
The rumblings of discord involved younger players and veterans, and it’s unclear exactly which players expressed grievances. But following Friday night’s loss to the Orlando Magic, one older player made it clear: this sort of break in the locker room won’t fly.
Tristan Thompson spoke to reporters after the game and expressed his disappointment with whomever gave anonymous quotes regarding Beilein. As he tells it, any player who wants to say these sorts of things should come and speak to him, because he doesn’t want these sorts of things popping up.
“Y’all better find them names ‘cause I’ll pull up on ‘em right now,” Thompson said. “You can’t do that s—.
“At the end of the day if you’re going to build a culture and a family, you can’t have that Chatty Patty s— going on. That s— is whack to me. Everyone’s got to look in the mirror, there’s only so much coach can do and there’s only so much we can do. Do we have the best roster in the NBA? No. But we’re going to go out there and compete every night. Guys got to look in the mirror. So I hope whoever reported that was just bulls——g and blamed it on a player.”
It’s not often that a player is this forceful in their public repudiation of what their teammates had to say, especially because Thompson is a veteran on an expiring contract and seems like a prime candidate for a guy who could be traded as part of Cleveland’s rebuild. No one would really blame him if he decided to stay on the sidelines as this all played out, but he’s also a Cavs lifer and really seems to value his role as one of the team’s leaders, so it’s fair to assume that John Beilein appreciates this kind of vocal support at a time when he could really use it.