David Blatt accepts Cavs job

ESPNAPI_IMG_NO_ALTEXT_Value

CLEVELAND -- David Blatt went overseas to chase his basketball dreams. He's coming back to fulfill them.

One of Europe's top coaches, Blatt was hired Friday by the Cavaliers, who ended a sweeping, 39-day search with an out-of-the-box selection they hope changes their fortunes.

American-born, Princeton-schooled and considered one of the game's brightest offensive minds, Blatt, 55, has long been interested in coaching in the NBA, and the Cavs will give him his first shot.

Blatt was given a three-year deal worth about $10 million with a fourth-year team option that includes incentives, sources told ESPN.com.

Cleveland contacted high-profile college coaches and interviewed both retreaded head coaches and on-the-rise assistants before zeroing in and landing Blatt, who won several European titles while coaching in Israel and guided Russia to a bronze medal at the London Olympics two years ago.

"David Blatt is going to bring some of the most innovative approaches found in professional basketball anywhere on the globe," Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said. "Time and time again, from Russia to Israel and several other prominent head coaching jobs in between, David has done one thing: 'win.' He is not only an innovator, well-trained and focused on both sides of the court, but he is always learning and always teaching."

Blatt will be introduced by the team Wednesday, one day before the club picks first in this year's NBA draft.

Cleveland's third coach in three years, Blatt replaces Mike Brown, who was fired -- for the second time -- on May 12, a few weeks after the Cavs finished 33-49 and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Blatt was not believed to be on Cleveland's radar early in its search, but that changed when he resigned at Maccabi Tel Aviv to pursue an NBA gig.

"I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to come to Cleveland and lead the Cavaliers as their head coach," Blatt said. "We are going to work extremely hard to achieve the kind of results we all expect and know are possible."

Blatt also was coveted as an assistant by Golden State and Minnesota, but the Cavs made him the first European coach to make the jump to the NBA as a head coach.

"David is a great basketball coach and a special person," Cavs general manager David Griffin said. "His abilities to communicate, to build relationships with his players and to foster winning environments at several stops throughout Europe and across the highest levels of international competition speak for itself. He brings unbridled passion, energy and creativity to his craft.

"I have watched David's work for many years. He has an uncanny ability to adapt his system to maximize the talents of his teams year after year. That is why I am very confident he will make a smooth transition to the NBA."

With Blatt in place, the Cavs can focus their attention on next week's draft.

As agent Mike Tannenbaum was negotiating Blatt's contract, Griffin and the rest of Cleveland's front office got a closer look at Duke forward Jabari Parker, who worked out at the team's training facility in Independence, Ohio. Parker is one of the Cavs' options with the No. 1 pick, a selection they are determined to get right.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...