Successful Tel Aviv coach leaving to fulfill NBA dream
David Blatt eyeing jobs in Cleveland, California, Minnesota and Atlanta.
After leading the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team to a Final Four victory at the Euroleague championship last month, Coach David Blatt will be moving back to the United States. The Boston native made the announcement at a press conference on Thursday, the day after his team won their 51st championship among other Israeli teams.
“I'm leaving my home, but not my family," he said. "I feel that this is the right thing for me to do. I'm not leaving Maccabi for a bigger contract. I'm not necessarily leaving for a better place. I'm leaving to follow my dream.”
Blatt continued: "I am leaving here not because I was asked to. The opposite is true: I was asked to stay, and offered the best possible conditions for such an event. But I just felt it is a move I wanted to make."
Coach Blatt was in the United States last week after the death of his father and reportedly met with representatives from the Golden State Warriors while on a 6-hour layover at the Los Angeles International Airport. Sources say Blatt will meet with the Cleveland Cavaliers for an interview next week. He is also rumored to be in talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Atlanta Hawks.
Avner Moratt, a self-described "Maccabi Tel Aviv fanatic," is an Israeli entrepreneur living in Atlanta. "All of Atlanta should be hoping that Blatt ends up here," Moratt said. "He would definitely take advantage of the Hawks' potential."
The 55-year-old Blatt, who played college basketball for Princeton, has had a successful career coaching overseas, winning several championships and being named Israel's Coach of the Year four times.
"It has been a dream of mine for almost forever to go and join a team in the NBA in some capacity," Blatt told the press. "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."
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