The Cavaliers have reached an agreement with David Blatt to become the 20th head coach in franchise history on Friday.
"David is a great basketball coach and a special person," Cavaliers GM David Griffin said in a release from the team. "His abilities to communicate, to build relationships with his players and to foster winning environments at several stops throughout Europe and across the highest levels of International competition speaks for itself. He brings unbridled passion, energy and creativity to his craft. These qualities have enabled David to reach a level of success that is truly unique."
Blatt, 55, has been coaching Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel since 2010. He has spent his entire career playing and coaching overseas. Blatt’s playing career in Europe began in 1981. He’s been coaching overseas since 1993.
"I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to come to Cleveland and lead the Cavaliers as their head coach," Blatt said in the release. "After spending a great deal of time discussing the organization, the team and the head coach’s role with David Griffin, I feel strongly about my fit for the job and this team’s potential. This is an opportune time to join the Cleveland Cavaliers. We are going to work extremely hard to achieve the kind of results we all expect and know are possible.”
Details of Blatt’s contract with the Cavs are being reported by multiple outlets, including FOX Sports 1 and Yahoo Sports NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, as being a four-year deal worth as much as $20 million. FOX Sports Ohio has been unable to confirm those reports.
Blatt and Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue were said to be the Cavs’ two finalists. Sources said it was a difficult decision and that the Cavs were very impressed with Lue.
The Cavs could ask former Bulls and Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro to be the assistant head coach, sources told FOX Sports Ohio on Friday. Del Negro has ties to Cavs general manager David Griffin and interviewed for the Cavs’ coaching job earlier this month.
Despite the fact Blatt possesses no NBA experience, the Cavs believe he has the experience and offensive system to lead them to great things. One source said Blatt’s emergence was the only reason the team was not in contract negotiations with Lue on Thursday.
The Cavs received positive feedback from those within the NBA and basketball coaching communities on their decision to contact, and ultimately choose, the offensive-minded Blatt.