After being rejected by John Calipari (offering him a ridiculous 10 year and 80 million contract), Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert finally got a new replacement for ex-coach Mike Brown for his team when David Blatt agreed to coach the team on Friday. The press conference introducing him will be on Wednesday.
He signed for three years (the team has an option for a fourth year) worth about 20 million (that includes incentives).
“David Blatt is going to bring some of the most innovative approaches found in professional basketball anywhere on the globe,” Gilbert said in the news release. “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 led Macabbi Tel Aviv to a stunning victory against Real Madrid (98-86 in overtime) for the Euroleague basketball championship on May 18th. Blatt has spent his entire career overseas, coaching in Israel, Russia, Italy, Turkey and Greece.
It’s an outside-the-box hire since he has no NBA experience as a player or coach but he’s a highly respected coach. Some people are comparing him to San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Poppovich. Blatt, 55, played at Princeton for Pete Carril from 1977-1981 as a point guard and learned a lot from him obviously. After graduating he went to Israel and played there from 1981-1984, Atlanta Pro-Am League from 1984-1986 and back to Israel from 1986-1993 before he got into coaching.
In 21 years as a professional coach, he has won 17 championships. So he’s a proven winner wherever he’s been, that much is clear. And Maccabi Tel Aviv was a huge underdog against Real Madrid in the most recent championship. Blatt gets the most out of his players and gets them to perform at a high level when their backs are against the wall.
The Cavaliers had a disappointing season as they finished 33-49 and five games out of the playoffs. They have missed the playoffs the last 4 seasons ever since LeBron James decided to go to Miami in a sign and trade.
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