A former assistant coach is suing the Cleveland Cavaliers, citing age discrimination.
Jim Boylan, a longtime NBA assistant coach, filed the lawsuit Thursday in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, naming the team’s holding company, owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Koby Altman as defendants.
The team did not renew the contract of the 63-year-old Boylan when it expired at the end of June.
The Cavaliers hired him in June 2013, and he served under head coaches Mike Brown, David Blatt and Tyronn Lue. The Cavs fired Lue last Sunday.
That was Boylan’s second time around with the Cavaliers. He was on the staff from 1992-97 and worked with head coaches Lenny Wilkens and Mike Fratello.
The Cavaliers issued a statement Friday saying they would “seek immediate dismissal of this disappointing, unwarranted and baseless claim.”
According to the court filing, Boylan said he received word in June from Lue via a voice mail that he was not being retained. According to the filing, this was Lue’s message:
“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.
“But give me a call back if you get a chance. If you don’t, I just want to thank you for everything and for everything you’ve given to me, stuff I’ve learned from you, helped me through all the situations, the health situations, and just being a young coach, man. You know, I hate to see this s—- end like this, but I mean, I mean you try to (inaudible) to do this. Unbelievable, man. And so, you know, I just wanted to let you know that.
“So I’ll try to give you a call, but that’s kind of what Koby’s thinking is, and that’s kind of where Dan was at. And so I just wanted to, you know, give you a call, you know, to tell you that. I’m out of town right now to come and look at some places for myself for the center, but I’ll be back in town I think Friday or Saturday. So I wanted to let you know, man. I just want to say thank you; I love you, brother. And, yeah, honestly, if you need anything from me, you know, I’ll be right there to ask, I’ll be there to help you, man. So thank you.”
Longabardi is 45. The “LD” in the message presumably is Larry Drew, who has been running the team since Lue’s firing. He is 60.
In the lawsuit, Boylan alleges that Gilbert has “a pattern and practice of age discrimination across” the businesses he owns, including the Cavaliers.
“Defendants discriminate against employees and candidates for employment on the basis of age with respect to hiring, renewal, termination, pay, raises, benefits, and in the terms and conditions of employment,” the suit alleges about Gilbert. “Defendants discriminatorily favor younger less qualified candidates and employees over substantially older employees.”
—Field Level Media