JERUSALEM (JTA) — David Blatt, who guided Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Euroleague basketball championship, stepped down as the Israeli team’s coach to pursue opportunities in the NBA.
Blatt made the announcement Thursday at a news conference in Tel Aviv.
The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly have contacted Blatt for their vacant head coaching post. New York, Minnesota and Golden State reportedly are interested in Blatt, who holds U.S. and Israeli citizenship, to fill slots as an assistant coach.
“I feel that this is the best time for me to leave,” Blatt said at the news conference. “I was offered to stay but I decided to take this step.
“The truth is that I don’t know yet where I am going. There are several options, good options, and now that I have told Maccabi that I’m leaving, I will intensify my talks with NBA teams. I just want to realize a dream and hold a significant role with an NBA team.”
Blatt, who led Maccabi Tel Aviv for four seasons, said he would make a decision shortly on his future post.
The Boston native reportedly has turned down NBA assistant coaching jobs in the past.
Along with leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to an upset victory in the Euroleague playoffs last month, Blatt coached Russia to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Blatt played for Princeton University from 1977 to 1981 and was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. men’s basketball team at the 1981 Maccabiah Games. Following the games, Blatt played for several Israeli teams until he was injured in 1993 and took up coaching.