Israeli coach David Blatt, fresh from Turkey success, looks to return to NBA


Israeli basketball coach David Blatt has said he plans to return to the NBA, after leading his current team, Turkey’s Darüşşafaka, to victory over Russia’s Lokomotiv Kuban to win the Eurocup basketball championship on Saturday.

Asked in an interview with Hadashot TV news Sunday night if he sought to return to coach in the American National Basketball Association league, Blatt said, “That’s my goal. I said so last year too.”

Blatt played for many years in Israel’s Super League, then went on to serve as head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv and Israel’s national team. In 2014, he moved to the NBA, coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers for a season and a half before being fired and returning to European basketball.

“Over the past year there were no changes in positions for NBA coaches,” he told Hadashot, explaining his time spent with European teams.

On Sunday, US media reported that Blatt was a contender for the post of New York Knicks head coach. He is slated to travel from Turkey to the US next week for an interview regarding the position.

“I hope to have a process with a number of teams who will want to interview me and hear what I have to say and what I have to give,” Blatt said.

“Anyone who decides to move in my direction — that’s where I’ll be. The NBA is my goal, and if not, I’ll happily stay in Europe, hopefully to continue to do what I’m doing here.”

Blatt, who holds both American and Israeli citizenship, was also asked about his presence in Turkey amid long-simmering tensions with Israel.

“I personally feel very good here and I’m treated very respectfully,” he said. “Turkey is a special country which is going through dramatic change. There is hope for an improvement in ties with Israel, and I hope to be part of that.”

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