Entering the 2019 offseason, Nik Stauskas is officially a free agent.
But the odds of him re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers appeared to increase this week given the familiar face that's been hired to coach the team.
Before he was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the No. 8 pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, Stauskas was a standout player at Michigan, where he was named the Big Ten Player of the Year in his sophomore season. In Ann Arbor, he was coached by the Wolverines' all-time winningest coach, John Beilein, who agreed to terms with the Cavs on a five-year contract earlier this week, filling their head coaching vacancy.
Speaking to ESPN Radio's Sarah Spain and Jason Fitz On Tuesday, Stauskas discussed his former head coach's jump to the NBA. And while the fifth-year guard admitted there will be adjustments for Beilein, he said the least of his concern is how the 66-year-old's basketball acumen will translate from college to the pros.
“In terms of X’s and O’s, he’s a basketball genius," Stauskas said. "He knows all that stuff like the back of his hand and he’s going to be just fine."
As far as the adjustments Beilein will have to make, Stauskas noted the complexities that often exist within an NBA locker room. As opposed to coaching players in their late teens-early 20s he personally recruited, Beilein will now be tasked with overseeing a roster full of multimillionaires who have already reached basketball's highest level.
"It’s going to be more just his interactions with his players and just managing the normal egos you have on an NBA team," Stauskas said. "In the NBA, it’s a little bit different. You’re dealing with guys who are sometimes 30, 35-years-old and who have all the money in the world and players sometimes feel like coaches can’t tell them anything. So that’s why the communication part is so key and that’s what I think is going to be the biggest adjustment for him."
That's not to say that Beilein won't be up for the challenge. And as evidenced by his previous implementation of analytics in Ann Arbor, his ability to adapt has been one of his biggest strengths.
Although he's admittedly biased, Stauskas -- who averaged 5.5 points and shot .429 percent from 3-point range in 24 games with the Cavs last season -- is a big fan of the hire. And he's also made it's clear he'd be happy to return to the offense that helped transform him into a lottery pick.
"Obviously, being on the Cavs last year and having the opportunity to potentially re-sign there, the thought of playing for him again is very exciting," he said. "I know offensively, his system is going to be great and very successful. It’s a system I know and yeah, it’d be really cool to play in that again."