Maccabi TA's David Blatt Announces He's Leaving for the NBA

Coach who led the team to victory in the Euroleague championships says he has not reached agreement with any team, but has a few 'very good options.'

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Coach David Blatt gestures during Maccabi Tel Aviv's victory over CSKA Moscow, in Milan, Italy, May 16, 2014.Credit: AP

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt announced on Thursday evening that he is leaving the club for the NBA, but said he has not reached agreement with any team.

"There are a few very good options," he said at a news conference in Tel Aviv. "I haven't completed any negotiations yet, and now I'm going to hold consultations... and very soon I'll be able to say" with which NBA team he's signed.

Media reports are that Blatt has been wooed by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves. "Most of the news reports have been accurate," he said. " I don't expect any surprises."

Blatt, 55, became a national hero last month by leading a middling Maccabi club to a stunning Euroleague championship, beating heavily-favored Real Madrid in the final.

Seated next to team owner Shimon Mizrahi, Blatt said he'd told Mizrahi earlier in the day "that I'm not leaving for a richer contract, I'm not  leaving for a better place, I'm leaving to pursue another dream.

"Ever since I was a kid growing up in Boston and rooting for the Boston Celtics, the NBA has been my dream," he said. "It's also the only challenge I haven't met in my career, and I feel that now is the right time to do it."

Blatt played guard as an undergraduate at Princeton, then started his coaching career in Israel, apprenticing to legendary Pini Gershon at Hapoel Galil Elyon and then at Maccabi Tel Aviv. In the 2000s Blatt became a successful coach in the Euroleague before coming back to Maccabi in 2010 as head coach.