CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland Cavaliers have made it official: David Blatt is the new head coach of the team.
An independent source confirmed it to FOX 8 News earlier Friday; then Friday night, the Cavs released details.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) June 21, 2014
In a statement, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin said, “David is a great basketball coach and a special person. 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.
I have watched David’s work for many years. He has an uncanny ability to adapt his system to maximize the talents of his teams year after year. That is why I am very confident he will make a smooth transition to the NBA. There is a great opportunity to accelerate the progress of moving our team and franchise to the higher level of play we all believe we are capable of achieving. I am excited that the experience, knowledge, skills and leadership David will bring to the Cavaliers is the right fit at the right time.”
The Cavs said Blatt, 55, most recently coached perennial Euroleague championship contender Maccabi Tel Aviv, where his team finished with a 54-18 record this season, winning the Israel League, Israeli Cup and the Euroleague Championship.
Here’s how Blatt reacted to his new position: “I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to come to Cleveland and lead the Cavaliers as their head coach. 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. I also want to thank Dan Gilbert, Nate Forbes, Jeff Cohen, and many others within the Cavaliers front office, for their belief and confidence in me and what we can accomplish together. This is a proud day for me, personally, but I hope just the first of many more for all of us as we work towards a very bright future. I have always heard about how great of a sports town Cleveland is and have come to understand how much fans here care about the Cavaliers. This makes me feel especially excited and comfortable to join this community but above all motivates me to help deliver in a big way.”
Blatt is traveling and will return to Cleveland next week. He will be introduced at a press conference on Wednesday, June 25.
Blatt and Los Angeles Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue were the two finalists for the job that has been open for about two months since Mike Brown was fired.
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