The Cleveland Cavaliers have hired David Blatt, an American who has been a head coach in Europe for more than 15 years, as their next head coach, according to several reports. He was coach of the Russian national team from 2006-2012.
David Pick, a senior correspondent at Eurobasket.com, also has the news.
The hometown Cleveland Plain-Dealer has the news here:
Blatt, 55, has been on the Cavs radar from the beginning of their extensive, five-week search that included at least a dozen candidates, although he was the last to interview. Blatt was at least the seventh candidate to interview, along with popular former Cav Mark Price, Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins, Vinny Del Negro, Adrian Griffin and Tyronn Lue.
In addition, it’s believed the Cavs reached out to at least another five candidates, formally or informally, including former Golden State coach Mark Jackson and college coaches John Calipari of Kentucky, Kevin Ollie of UConn, Billy Donovan of Florida and Tom Izzo of Michigan State.
Blatt, who played at Princeton under coach Pete Carril and was coach of the Russian national team from 2006-2012, is one of the most successful European coaches of this era, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Wojnarowski. Blatt just won a Euroleague title with Maccabi Tel Aviv, upsetting favored Real Madrid, but resigned shortly after to pursue his goal of coaching in the NBA. Woj has more details here:
Blatt, 55, is the first coach to make the leap from Europe to the NBA as a head coach.
Gilbert and general manager David Griffin huddled on Thursday and zeroed in on a decision to choose Blatt over Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue. The Cavaliers had been extremely fond of Lue and considered him a potential coaching star in the NBA, sources said.
Cleveland was under pressure to make a decision on Thursday because Blatt was prepared to accept an assistant coaching job under Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors.
Our man John Schuhmann pointed out what Blatt’s hiring could mean to the Cavs.