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Beilein: Leaving Michigan for Cavs is 'right thing to do'

FILE - In this March 28, 2019 file photo, Michigan coach John Beilein shouts during the first half of the team's NCAA men's college basketball tournament West Region semifinal against Texas Tech in Anaheim, Calif. Cleveland has signed Beilein to a five-year contract, three people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Monday, May 13. The deal came together quickly in the past 24 hours and was finalized Sunday after the Cavs had spent the weekend in Denver interviewing several NBA assistants. The people spoke to The AP condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the hire.

John Beilein's time at Michigan basketball has come to a close.

And now athletic director Warde Manuel has the biggest test of his career.

Manuel has had his short list for Beilein's successor at U-M for some time now. That process ramped up heavily last year when Beilein entered discussions with the Detroit Pistons about a coaching job. Now it'll go into full action as Beilein's off to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers.

U-M will certainly spend some time weighing options of whether it wants to swing at a big name with a lot of cash, or find a younger coach it believes capable of being its next great men's basketball leader.

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Here are a few names to consider:

Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City Thunder

This would fall into the category of extremely expensive, but U-M is far from poor. Donovan has been in the NBA for four years with the Oklahoma City Thunder and did just get an endorsement from his general manager, but he has had three straight first-round exits. Would he be interested in returning to college? Donovan was a two-time national champion at Florida who, like Beilein, rebuilt a college program before taking a stab at the NBA.

Michigan is a much more desirable job today than it was when Beilein took it back in 2007. Still, it would take some serious work - and maybe some good fortune - to pull someone like this.

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

This would fall into the same category as Donovan and would, perhaps, be even more of a long shot. The Boston Celtics had a rough close to their season this year, though Stevens hasn't given any public indication that he'd like to return to college basketball. The former Butler coach, and Indiana native, could've had that Indiana job at the snap of his fingers back in 2017 but is still in Boston.

This would be a dream hire for Manuel. But dreams don't always come true.

Chris Beard, Texas Tech

Beard might be the hottest young name in college basketball right now. He's 46, he just took Texas Tech to the national championship game - beating U-M in the Sweet 16 in the process. He does things his own way and he's had great success at each of his coaching stops to date. He did just sign a six-year extension that'll pay him nearly $5 million. So Michigan would have to make him one of the top two or three highest-paid coaches in America.

Michigan has more resources than Texas Tech, plain and simple. But if Beard is happy at Texas Tech, his current high salary might be more than enough to keep him there.

Mike White, Florida

White has already had the unenviable job of replacing a legend as he took over for Donovan at Florida back in 2015. He has gotten the Gators to the NCAA Tournament three straight times, including an Elite Eight in 2017. He can recruit. He is well-respected. Michigan could absolutely pay him more than the $2.6 million he's making right now.

White is only 42, his track record isn't very long and he has no Michigan ties. But he took over in a tough spot at Florida and has handled himself very well so far.

Porter Moser, Loyola (Chicago)

Beilein and Michigan beat Moser's upstart Loyola squad in the Final Four back in 2018, but Moser's run in the Missouri Valley Conference no doubt proved he can coach. He'll turn 51 in August and he's been at Loyola eight years. Teams have shown interest in him before, but he's opted to stay. U-M could clearly entice a candidate like this with more money than he's ever been offered.

The drawback? His Final Four run was his only NCAA Tournament appearance at Loyola. He's never coached above the MVC and the Big Ten is a different animal altogether.

LaVall Jordan, Butler

Jordan's long been viewed as one of the sharpest (and still one of the youngest) branches of Beilein's coaching tree. He was an outstanding guard developer during his time in Ann Arbor as an assistant (2010-16) and when he left the program to take over at Milwaukee in 2016, some thought he'd be the ultimate successor to Beilein one day. Maybe that'll happen.

Jordan took over at Butler, his alma mater, before the 2017-18 season. The Bulldogs made the tournament last year, but had a sour 16-17 record in 2018-19. Has Jordan accomplished enough to get this job?

Luke Yaklich, Michigan assistant

The odds that Yaklich, 43, was going to go through this entire coaching cycle and not get a head coaching job somewhere, albeit at a lower level, were probably low. He has never been a head coach before, but an internal hire could help Michigan further advance the culture Beilein's put together so far. Yaklich has been a noted defensive star, as Michigan has had the No. 2- and No. 3-ranked defense each of the last two years.

The drawback? He's never been a head coach. His focus at U-M was completely on the defensive end. Everyone knows him, but there'd be some risk involved.

Saddi Washington, Michigan assistant

Washington, 43, took over briefly as Michigan's interim head coach this summer when Beilein was recovering from heart surgery. He's in the same boat as Yaklich here: He has never been a head coach but he's very well respected in coaching circles as someone who is ready for a job. But this job?

Hiring an internal candidate would obviously ease things up in recruiting and further advance Michigan's Beilein culture. But like Yaklich, Washington is completely unproven and U-M is a big-time high-major job.

Juwan Howard, Miami Heat assistant

Howard has never been a head coach and he's never coached in college. But he's been on an NBA bench since 2013 and, obviously, he has Michigan ties as a former member of the Fab Five. He is a well-respected mind in NBA circles and his name has been floated for some pro head coaching vacancies.

This would involve some creative thinking, as again, Howard has never coached in the college ranks.

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