Skip to content

Report: Cavaliers reach deal with David Blatt to be head coach

Jun 20, 2014, 1:35 PM EST

David Blatt David Blatt

A lot of casual Cavaliers fans are going to say, “who?” and just shake their heads.

A lot of people around the NBA are going to nod their heads and say “good hire.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers have reached a deal to have international coaching star and innovative offensive mind David Blatt take over as head coach, reports Mary Schmitt Boyer at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

David Blatt, who just resigned as coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv last week, has reached an agreement to become the 20th head coach of the Cavaliers, replacing Mike Brown who was fired on May 12, an NBA source told The Plain Dealer on Friday.

This will be the first NBA job for the well-respected Blatt, an American who played for Pete Carril at Princeton and has played and coached in Europe the past 33 years. He also will become the first European head coach to be picked to run an NBA team.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports add details.

It became clear this was the direction things were headed last night when Alvin Gentry agreed to take the job as Steve Kerr’s lead assistant in Golden State, the other job Blatt was considering. Blatt to Cleveland likely means Tyron Lue will stay with the Clippers and jump up a slot to lead assistant (Gentry’s old slot) next to Doc Rivers.

Blatt just led Maccabi Tel Aviv to a surprise EuroLeague title and before that coached Russia to a bronze medal at the London Olympics. However he was on the radar of NBA teams before that as a future NBA coach in large part thanks to what is seen as an innovative offense. He is an outside the box thinker.

A few may say, “this hurts the Cavaliers chances of getting LeBron James to come back this summer.” No, because that was not going to happen anyway. It’s like saying me not shaving today hurts my chance of a date with Kate Upton tonight. Besides, LeBron studies and knows the game, if he sees and offense where players share the ball, move off the ball and are unselfish he might think “I just got beat by an offense like that, I should consider it.”

The biggest challenge for Blatt is getting the players to buy in — in Europe (more like college ball) the coach has the power. There are also fewer games and more practices. The NBA it’s the elite players who have the power and the best coaches get those players to buy in. Blatt may well have that skill — and Kyrie Irving will love his offense (if he’s willing to move the ball to get it back).

Former Cav Anthony Parker, now an Orlando scout, played for Blatt in Israel and often cited him as his favorite coach, calling him one of the top basketball coaches in the world.

Latest Posts
  1. PBT’s Top 10 NBA stories of 2014, No. 8: Kobe Bryant returns

    Dec 29, 2014, 8:30 AM EST

    Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    He’s back. And the league is more interesting to watch with him in it.

  2. Raptors’ Tyler Hansbrough dunks, J.J. Hickson ends up in poster (VIDEO)

    Dec 29, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Orlando Magic v Toronto Raptors Getty Images

    Hickson tries to make the right play, but it doesn’t exactly go his way.

  3. Carmelo Anthony sits out second half vs. Portland with sore knee

    Dec 29, 2014, 12:18 AM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwiwm2izn2i3yme1njvjowyzmzi5ywnlndmznzjhztrk AP

    The Knicks next play Wednesday against the Clippers.

  4. Report: Timberwolves expect Ricky Rubio to return in mid-January

    Dec 28, 2014, 10:30 PM EST

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Orlando Magic Getty Images

    Flip Saunders said this a few weeks ago, too, but Rubio isn’t ready to stick to a timeline just yet.

  5. Paul Pierce ‘shocked’ by Celtics trade of Rajon Rondo to Mavericks

    Dec 28, 2014, 7:30 PM EST

    Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo AP

    It had been brewing for a while, but it still caught most of us by surprise.

  6. Lakers claim Tarik Black off waivers, create roster spot by waiving Xavier Henry

    Dec 28, 2014, 6:00 PM EST

    Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings

    Nice move by the Lakers, who pick up a promising big man prospect with an inexpensive non-guaranteed contract.

  7. Kyrie Irving to miss second straight game, out Sunday vs. Pistons

    Dec 28, 2014, 4:29 PM EST

    Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Knee injury suffered on Christmas Day will continue to keep Irving sidelined.

  8. Kobe Bryant will return to Lakers lineup Sunday vs. Suns

    Dec 28, 2014, 3:30 PM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    Bryant has uncharacteristically sat out the previous three games simply to rest.

  9. PBT’s Top 10 NBA stories of 2014, No. 9: Eastern Conference inadequacy

    Dec 28, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    Eric Bledsoe, Marcus Morris AP

    Western Conference ends season with huge advantage, begins another right where it left off

  10. John Wall with another 360 layup (VIDEO)

    Dec 27, 2014, 9:00 PM EST

    Boston Celtics v Washington Wizards Getty Images

    He’s done it twice in the last two games.

  11. Hornets’ coach explains why Noah Vonleh barely sees the court

    Dec 27, 2014, 8:02 PM EST

    2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Getty Images

    A sports hernia kept him out of training camp and the rookie has never caught up with the learning curve.

Featured video

Who will land Josh Smith?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Durant (8580)
  2. K. Bryant (7817)
  3. C. Bosh (6521)
  4. K. Martin (6519)
  5. J. Smith (6462)
  1. K. Leonard (6306)
  2. D. DeRozan (5518)
  3. T. Parker (5429)
  4. A. Bogut (5385)
  5. T. Jones (5372)