John Beilein to the NBA? The idea sounds preposterous to me, but I'm probably biased. As a Michigan grad who's enjoyed watching how Beilein has returned the Wolverines to national prominence, I like to envision him as a potential Michigan lifer, a head coach who's reached the final destination in his career much like Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and Jim Boeheim at Syracuse. In a 2012 interview, he literally said "there is no other" job that he'd like to pursue after Michigan.
"There is no other one," he said. "There is no other one. It's been a great journey so far to have been a bit of a nomadic coach and change (jobs) several times. But there is a time when you say, 'OK, I really want to stay with this one and make the most of it.' "
(If I weren't biased, I might include Tom Izzo at Michigan State in my list of lifers, but considering how tempted Izzo was to take the Cleveland Cavaliers job in 2010 until he couldn't get assurances that LeBron James was returning, I imagine he'd jump ship for the right opportunity -- even if that's just wishful thinking.)
But after today's Woj Bomb™, what if I'm wrong? Could Beilein leave the comforts of the Crisler Center for a high-paying NBA job? Beilein signed a three-year extension with Michigan last summer that pays him $2.45 million through 2019, which at the time made him the fourth-highest paid coach in the Big Ten (behind Izzo, Ohio State's Thad Matta and Indiana's Tom Crean). That's a chunk of change, but it's not quite NBA money.
In any case, here's a roundup of reactions from some smart people in my timeline (and some other folks) to Adrian Wojnarowski's tweet:
Two college coaches who intrigue NBA execs -- some who have openings, some who don't: Michigan's John Beilein and Virginia's Tony Bennett.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 12, 2014
First, the surprise:
NOT COOL, WOJ. (Though I'd be shocked if Beilein took another job.)— Ace Anbender (@AceAnbender) May 12, 2014
@AceAnbender I'm trying to picture Beilein dealing with someone like Michael Beasley and I'm failing real hard.— Jane Coaston (@cjane87) May 12, 2014
A former player hints it'd work:
“@WojYahooNBA: college coach who intrigue NBA execs -- some who have openings, some who don't: Michigan's John Beilein" Runs a pro offense— Josh Bartelstein (@Jbart20) May 12, 2014
... But then admits it's not likely:
@AceAnbender never say never, but from everything I know Coach B LOVES UM, very very happy guy. Player wise, not bad having 2-3 guys a year— Josh Bartelstein (@Jbart20) May 12, 2014
Others suggest he'd be successful:
Seven years ago, many people considered John Beilein a "gimmick" coach. We've come a long way in seven years.— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) May 12, 2014
I'd be stunned if Beilein left Michigan for the NBA. Just stunned. But I can't help but think about GSW's offense if Beilein was there.— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) May 12, 2014
If you look at Beilein's career, he definitely has the ability to help players develop. Joe Dumars spent a decade looking for that skill.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) May 12, 2014
While other folks simply can't wrap their heads around it:
John Beilein coaching Josh Smith— mgoblog (@mgoblog) May 12, 2014
This has been your reality-shattering thought experiment that reassures you Beilein is not NBA material— mgoblog (@mgoblog) May 12, 2014
If John Beilein is hot on some NBA team's radar as a prospective coach ... yeah, I'm not even going to finish that sentence.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) May 12, 2014
To summarize: If John Beilein leaves Michigan to coach an NBA team, I'll be moving to that city to cover it for the 6 months that he stays.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) May 12, 2014
But Beilein isn't going to the NBA. No. Nope. Not happening. No way. Not a chance. Seriously. Stop it, Woj. It's not funny anymore. No.— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) May 12, 2014
@ItsAntWright yeah... Made me laugh— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) May 12, 2014
Now your thoughts. Do you think Beilein might jump at a job offer? And should the Pistons be interested?