Cleveland Cavaliers
Photo: Cleveland Cavaliers

David Blatt will return to the sidelines on the Old Continent next season after agreeing to a multiyear contract to become the next head coach of Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul. Blatt last coached in Europe in 2014, when he led Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague crown after a thrilling Final Four in Milan, Italy. He signed with Cleveland of the NBA that summer and led the club to the 2015 NBA Finals. Blatt’s regular season record of 83-40 marks the sixth-highest winning percentage (67.5%) of any coach in NBA history.

Blatt previously coached in Istanbul during the 2007-08 season with Efes Pilsen. He has spent the majority of his coaching career with Maccabi, including six years as head coach and three as an assistant to Pini Gershon. He led Maccabi to a total of three Final Fours as head coach. He also helped do so three more times as an assistant, including the years that Maccabi won the FIBA SuproLeague title in 2001 and the Euroleague title in 2004. Among his other greatest accomplishments came with the Russian national team, which Blatt guided from 2006 through 2012. He led Russia to the gold medal at EuroBasket 2007, a bronze medal at EuroBasket 2011 and an Olympic bronze medal from the 2012 games in London. Blatt was awarded the prestigious Russian Order of Friendship in 2014. That was the same year that Blatt led Maccabi to its biggest triumph in almost a decade, with a series of comebacks in the playoffs and the Final Four to win the Euroleague title for the fifth time. At the end of that season, Blatt was named the 2013-14 Euroleague Basketball Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year.

Blatt, who played professionally in Israel, has also coached Hapoel Galil Elyon in Israel, Dynamo St. Petersburg and Dynamo Moscow in Russia, Benetton Treviso in Italy and Aris Thessaloniki in GreeceAmong his other titles are five Israeli League, one Italian League and one Adriatic League championships; six Israeli and one Italian Cups; and the 2005 FIBA Europe League.