Former Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Jim Boylan, who had been with the team from 2013 until this past offseason, filed a lawsuit in Cuyahoga County court today alleging age discrimination against his former team.
In the lawsuit, the 63-year-old Boylan says now-former Cavs coach Tyronn Lue told him that Cleveland GM Koby Altman was looking to “go younger in that position” when Lue called and left a voicemail informing Boylan that the option on his contract would not be picked up. Here’s the relevant portion of the voicemail—which begins with Lue informing an assistant of his de facto firing by saying, “Jimbo, what’s up, yo? This is T Lue.”—as transcribed by the lawsuit:
“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. 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.”
Lue goes on to say some kind words about Boylan, but that’s all the important stuff. The lawsuit then adds that Boylan talked with Altman after he got the voicemail, and Altman told the assistant that both he and owner Dan Gilbert wanted a “younger” coach.
Boylan had been in the NBA since 1992, originally working in the Cavs organization until 1997. He then moved through stints with several different teams, and served as interim head coach on both the Bulls in 2008 and the Bucks in 2013 before returning to Cleveland.
Aside from Boylan’s specific situation, the suit also accuses Gilbert of having “a pattern and practice of age discrimination across (his) corporate organizations,” noting, for one, that every current Cavaliers assistant is either 45 or younger. As far as damages, Boylan’s suit says he is seeking “an amount in excess of $25,000.”
The full lawsuit is embedded below: