Only true diehards are familiar with David Blatt, who is currently one of the most well-regarded coaches in international basketball. But may all be changing soon.
Earlier today, Blatt announced that he was leaving his current head coaching post at Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel to pursue a career in the NBA:
"I just want to follow my dream", David Blatt on leaving Maccabi Tel Aviv for the NBA. pic.twitter.com/ZfINNdGi1j— Becky Griffin (@dorothyofisrael) June 12, 2014
However, his destination is not clear at the moment:
RT @AllonSinai: Maccabi Tel Aviv's NBA-bound coach David Blatt: "The truth is that I don't know yet where I am going."— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 12, 2014
RT @AllonSinai: Blatt: "There are several options and now that I have told Maccabi that I'm leaving I will intensify my talks w/ NBA teams"— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 12, 2014
The “several” options Blatt is referring to are the head coaching job in Cleveland, a role as the lead assistant for Steve Kerr in Golden State, and possibly as an assistant with Flip Saunders in Minnesota:
David Blatt will announce he's leaving for NBA, but still talking w/ Warriors for top assistant and Cavs for head coaching job, sources say.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 12, 2014
Minnesota is still in running for David Blatt, but sources say he's mostly focused on Golden State and Cleveland.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 12, 2014
According to the Cavs’ Akron Beacon Journal beat writer Jason Lloyd, Blatt’s decision to leave is not specifically tied to Cleveland:
#Cavs have previously discussed coaching job with David Blatt, but I'm told his announcement today does not pertain to them.— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) June 12, 2014
More details will surely be revealed in the coming days, but make no mistake: this is a big deal, given Blatt’s stature in international basketball. After growing up in Boston and playing college ball at Princeton, Blatt played professionally in Israel for 12 years before beginning his coaching career in 1993.
His Maccabi Tel Aviv team won the Euroleague this past season, the Israeli Cup in 2013, and both the Israeli Cup and the Israeli League in 2012. He also guided Spain to a gold medal at the 2007 FIBA EuroBasket tournament, and has won numerous other accolades throughout his career.
Whichever team lands him will be incredibly lucky given that coaches with championship pedigree do not become available very often, and bringing someone of Blatt's experience in should pay immediate dividends.