David Blatt, one of the most accomplished coaches in Europe, announced Thursday he is leaving Maccabi Tel Aviv for the NBA, but will it be for an assistant coaching job with the Warriors?
Blatt said at his press conference in Hebrew that he has "good options," adding that he did not yet know which job he would take. Asked to narrow down those options, Blatt told Eurobasket.com that he would probably meet with Cleveland next week and that the Warriors were an option as well.
Mike Tannenbaum, the agent for both Blatt and Kerr, declined comment.
Blatt had said he spoke with Warriors head coach Steve Kerr last week during a layover at Los Angeles International Airport, calling it "a great meeting." Blatt would fulfill Kerr's desire of having an experienced head coach on his staff. Kerr never coached on the professional level before coming over from the broadcasting booth to replace Mark Jackson last month.
Cleveland could offer Blatt a head coaching job after firing Mike Brown. The Cavaliers reportedly will also give second interviews to Los Angeles Clippers assistant coaches Alvin Gentry and Tyronn Lue. ESPN.com reported Cleveland general manager David Griffin also spoke with Jackson, who the Warriors fired last month.
Minnesota also appears to be interested in Blatt for an assistant coaching position under new head coach Flip Saunders.
Blatt, 55, has coached in Greece, Israel, Italy, Turkey and led Russia to a bronze-medal finish at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Last month, he led Maccabi team to the Euroleague championship and Wednesday saw it clinch the Israeli Basketball Super League title.
A day after being soaked in champagne, Blatt said at his press conference in English that he was leaving "to search and to meet other professional challenges that I have in my life."
"It's been a dream of mine for almost forever to go and join a team in the NBA in some capacity," said Blatt, a Massachusetts native. "I wish I could have done it as a player. I wasn't good enough. But now perhaps I'll have that opportunity as a coach, and I hope that I can contribute as much and in the same way to the team that I'll go to as I've been able and fortunate enough to have done here in Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv."