Former Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Jim Boylan filed a lawsuit Thursday against the team alleging age discrimination after his option wasn’t picked up for this season.
In the lawsuit Boylan, 63, provides a transcript of a voicemail left by former head coach Tyronn Lue from last June informing him the team was moving in a different direction. According to the transcription, Cavs general manager Koby Altman informed Lue that “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.”
The lawsuit also claims that subsequently Altman told Boylan that he and team owner Dan Gilbert wanted a younger coach at the position. After Boylan’s departure, the Cavs hired new assistant coach Terry Nooner, who is 40, and promoted several other younger assistants.
The suit names Altman and Gilbert but not Lue.
In a statement, the Cavs referred to Boylan’s lawsuit as “frivolous” and a “shameless cash grab.”
“The outrageousness of Mr. Boylan’s claim of ‘age discrimination’ due to the Cavaliers not exercising an option in a contract both parties signed cannot be overstated,” the Cavaliers said in the statement. “The only fact that exceeds the egregiousness of Mr. Boylan’s claim that he is owed any further compensation from the Cavaliers is the extortion attempts by [Boylan attorney] Christopher Thorman demanding $6.174 million dollars when, had the one-year option been exercised for the 2018-2019 season, Mr. Boylan would have been paid $500,000 for his services.”
Boylan has been an assistant coach in the NBA since 1992 and previously was an interim coach with the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks. He joined the Cavs in 2013 and was an assistant under Mike Brown and David Blatt before Lue.