Report: David Blatt on Potential List to Coach the L.A. Lakers

Former head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers where he led the team to last year's NBA Finals has been discussed in connection with multiple teams since being fired in January.

Israeli-American coach David Blatt of the Cleveland Cavaliers speaking with star player LeBron James during the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals in Atlanta, Georgia, May 26, 2015.
Gregory Shamus, JTA

David Blatt, the Israeli American who was fired this season as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, reportedly is under consideration for the same post with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Blatt was listed this week in an ESPN report, citing unnamed league sources, as one of 10 potential candidates on the NBA team’s “long list” to replace Byron Scott, who the Lakers announced Sunday will not be returning next season. Scott, a former Lakers’ player, coached the squad to its two worst seasons ever.

Blatt has been rumored as in the running for head coach of the New York Knicks, though reports circulating this week say his candidacy for the position is a smokescreen to hide the team’s intention to hire interim coach Kurt Rambis. Blatt played basketball at Princeton University with the Knicks’ general manager, Steve Mills, in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

At the time of his firing in January, Blatt said he wanted to remain in the NBA, as opposed to returning to coaching in Israel and the European leagues, where he led Maccabi Tel Aviv to five national titles and the 2014 Euroleague championship. He also guided the Russian national team to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

At the time of his dismissal, the Cavaliers had the best record in the Eastern Conference. Some claimed the team’s superstar, LeBron James, undermined the coach. Blatt had led the Cavs to the 2015 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.