Charles Barkley had a few words for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night, following confirmation of John Beilein stepping down as the team’s head coach.
The 67-year-old vacated the post after just 54 games, insisting the decision to do so was his.
Barkley, however, isn’t buying that. And he ripped the Cavs on TNT’s Inside The NBA in the wake of the announcement.
“I want to call out the Cleveland Cavaliers,” he said amid a return to action for the NBA post the All-Star break. “I thought what they did to coach Beilein was ridiculous, unprofessional,” Barkley said. “I think the veterans on that team were not leaders. I think the young guys on that team who can’t play think they are better than they are and they tried to get that man fired. They got that man fired … I’m so disgusted by those players trying to get that man fired.
“John Beilein is a hell of a coach and I think he’s a good guy. But for those players to complain about ‘We’re practicing too hard, we’re watching too much film,’ because they stink. Because they stink. I just didn’t think that was fair. When a coach is wrong I’m going to call him out. When players are wrong I’m going to call them out. I’m disgusted by what the Cavaliers did to coach Beilein.”
Beilen and the Cavs posted a 14-40 record ahead of his stepping down but his problems were not restricted to the court as there was a huge divide between coach and team, with players opposed to his methods, having claimed he was “nitpicking over basic fundamentals,” among other things.
“I was not certain I could be at my best for the remainder of the season and in the future,” he said in a statement. “That would not be fair to the players, coaches and support staff.”
Beilein, who is said to have taken the high road on his exit, is expected to take up a new role with the team.
“I would’ve went out swinging,” Kenny Smith declared.
“He should have went out saying, ‘Y’all a bunch of damn losers, I’m glad to get the hell out of here,’” Barkley added.
(H/T Yahoo Sports for transcription)