For the third time in three years, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a new head coach. His name is David Blatt. While you may not know his name, many in NBA circles do. Blatt has been successful in two decades of coaching overseas and his hiring, as reported by first by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and later by Yahoo! Sports, has garnered much positive feedback from commentators local and nationwide.
American-born and Princeton-educated, Blatt, 55, will be coming to the NBA after a successful 20-year coaching career in Europe, with stops at Israel, Greece, Russia, and Turkey. This past season, he led undermanned Maccabi Tel Aviv to an upset over Real Madrid to win the Euroleague Championship. He also won a Eurobasket championship with Russia in 2007 and a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Blatt's a tremendous hiring for Cleveland. He's an original thinker, a great communicator and tactician, a coach unafraid to try and fail.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 20, 2014
According to ESPN.com, Blatt has a long relationship with many executives in the NBA, including Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports notes that Cleveland was under pressure to make the decision because Blatt had been offered a job as an assistant coach under Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors.
The Cavaliers had interviewed numerous candidates in an exhaustive search for their next head coach, including many high-profile college coaches, some former NBA head coaches, and other up-and-coming assistant coaches, according to The Associated Press. The head coaching search was prompted by the firing of Mike Brown, who had led the Cavaliers to a 33-49 playoff-less season.
The decision comes as the Cavaliers have less than one week to decide whom to choose in the NBA Draft. Terms of the contract were not immediately known, but Yahoo! Sports reported that the deal with Blatt is a four-year deal worth up to $20 million.
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