David Blatt has become the first head coach from the Euroleague to move up to the NBA.
So NBA personalities like Reggie Miller and Greg Anthony, who admitted to not knowing who Blatt was will now know who he is.
Blatt and the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed on a three-year deal with the option of a fourth year as Blatt, who won the Euroleague last season with Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv aims to steer the Cavs to their first Playoff birth in four seasons.
The veteran American-born, European coach beat other candidates such as Los Angeles Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue to the post.
Newly appointed head coach of the Golden State Warriors Steve Kerr wanted Blatt to be his lead assistant for this season, but the thought of coaching Kyrie Irving and the number 1 Draft pick, widely expected to be Duke’s Jabari Parker was too great.
”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.”
Some are saying that the hiring of Blatt is a risk due to the fact that he has never coached in the NBA before. But Cleveland are willing to take that risk and meet it head on with a man who has always wanted to be an NBA coach but went in a different direction and perfected his craft in a glittering career in Israel and Russia where he has won multiple domestic titles, a Eurobasket gold in 2007 and an Olympic bronze medal in 2012 – all with the Russian national side.
”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 to the team and media on Wednesday, a day after the 2014 NBA Draft.