David Blatt is out of a job after a year-and-a-half with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the former European coach doesn’t plan to stay away for long.
Continue for updates.
Timberwolves Reportedly Won't Contact Blatt
Monday, Jan. 25
Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com, citing league sources, reported the Minnesota Timberwolves "[have] no intention of reaching out to [Blatt] to join staff." On Saturday, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported the Timberwolves were interested in Blatt.
Blatt Drawing Interest From Multiple Teams
Saturday, Jan. 23
Blatt Intent on Coaching in NBA Again
Friday, Jan. 22
Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported Blatt doesn't intend to leave the NBA and plans to find another job:
Early in the process, obviously, but NBA coaching sources insist to me David Blatt is intent on coaching in this league again— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 22, 2016
David Pick of Basketball Insiders suggested Blatt could eventually replace Timberwolves interim head coach Sam Mitchell.
Pick noted the Timberwolves have four players—Nemanja Bjelica, Nikola Pekovic, Ricky Rubio and Damjan Rudez—with European backgrounds like Blatt, who drafted Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick last year before the team traded Wiggins in the offseason:
Heard Blatt & Twolves buzz. Strong Euro core, he drafted Andrew Wiggins No. 1 overall.— David Pick (@IAmDPick) January 22, 2016
Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports speculated the Nets could be a possible landing spot after they fired head coach Lionel Hollins and reassigned general manager Billy King last week:
Strong sense Brooklyn wants to hire a GM before bringing in a coach. But would David Blatt be a candidate when they do? Seems likely.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) January 22, 2016
After a slew of spending and trades since owner Mikhail Prokhorov bought the team in 2010, the Nets are in the midst of a midseason makeover and are desperate to find their way back to relevance.
Prokhorov said in a statement that he will "use the rest of the season to diligently evaluate candidates with proven track records,” per Scott Cacciola of the New York Times, and now that Blatt is on the market, he’ll likely get a hard look.
The Cavs fired Blatt on Friday even though he led the team to the NBA Finals last year and first place in the Eastern Conference through the first half of the 2015-16 campaign at 30-11.
One could argue Cleveland’s success since James’ return last season has been a product of personnel more than coaching. Along with James, the Cavs house superstar point guard Kyrie Irving and top forward Kevin Love.
Yet Cleveland was without Irving and Love in last year’s Finals defeat to the Golden State Warriors but still managed to take a 2-1 series lead.
That the Cavs won two games against the red-hot Warriors with a depleted lineup is a testament to Blatt’s coaching. But that they then lost three straight by an average of 13.6 points the rest of the way could also be pinned on the then-first-year head coach.
Both speculated landing spots, Minnesota and Brooklyn, would have Blatt going from a championship contender to the league cellar. But perhaps with a fresh start, he could thrive with a new opportunity.