HoopsHype David Blatt rumors

August 6, 2014 Updates
August 5, 2014 Updates

LeBron James met with new Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt and new general manager David Griffin in person for the first time Tuesday as he prepared for the upcoming season, sources told ESPN.com. James has been extremely busy since announcing his decision to sign with the Cavs last month, going on promotional trips for Nike to Brazil and China while also shooting a movie in New York. James met face-to-face with team owner Dan Gilbert before announcing his free agent choice but had communicated with Griffin and Blatt by telephone and text. ESPN.com

August 4, 2014 Updates
August 3, 2014 Updates

It appears that former Bucks coach Larry Drew, fired in controversial fashion last month when Jason Kidd decided to pursue the job, is making progress in joining David Blatt’s staff with the Cavaliers. Drew has ties with Blatt, who contacted him soon after he was fired by Milwaukee. Drew would join the staff that features associate head coach Tyronn Lue, who was an assistant with the Celtics under Doc Rivers. Former Celtic James Posey was on the Cavaliers’ summer league staff after coaching in the NBADL last season. Boston Globe

Do you support the operation? David Blatt: "Absolutely. In my opinion, this war is Israel's most justified war I can remember in recent years. I'm really sorry about what's happening in Gaza, but there's no doubt that we had to act there, so that Israel will have quiet there once and for all, and we can live in peace." Do you feel support for Israel in the US? David Blatt: "There's support, although sometimes it's not enough. In my opinion, though, there's more support this time than before." Globes.co.il

David Blatt: It's not easy for me when I'm constantly thinking about what's happening in Israel. My two older daughters happen to be on their global post-army service tour, my son is overseas playing in in the European Youth Basketball Championship, and my youngest daughter is also out of the country for a few days. They're all returning to Israel, though, and I'm planning on seeing them again at the beginning of August. I had a plane ticket with Delta Airlines, but I changed to El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) as soon as Delta canceled its flights to Israel." Globes.co.il

July 29, 2014 Updates

James, who can play any position at any time, may be an option in that role for the Cavaliers. But that style explains why Cleveland is eyeing the NBA's stretchiest four: Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love. Few players of Love's height in NBA history have relied on three-pointers as much as he did last season, when Love took 36% of his shots from behind the three-point line, up from 21% in 2011. It was a greater percentage than even that of James and Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving. "If I know David Blatt," said Maccabi center Shawn James, "he probably wants Kevin Love very bad." Wall Street Journal

Blatt abides by the Princeton offense's principles, he has said, though tweaked for the modern game. That means his system depends on proper floor spacing. To achieve that, his offenses lean on the "stretch four," or a power forward who plays on the perimeter, the position that has overtaken the NBA in recent years. Stretch fours are useful not only because they're added shooting threats. Their absence down low also opens up the lane and makes it easier for drivers, like James, to finish around the rim. "This is the different and unique style in Europe," said former Blatt assistant coach Guy Goodes, his Maccabi Tel Aviv successor. Wall Street Journal

Blatt enters the NBA with an extensive history of strategic tinkering. His former players said coaching flexibility comes with the territory in Europe, where roster turnover is more frequent than it is in the NBA. Blatt was working with even more constraints than most in Tel Aviv. Maccabi's budget, which was dwarfed by that of other Euroleague teams, forced him to get creative in tailoring strategies to the players around him, rather than jamming them into his own set beliefs. "The real key to David's success," said Maccabi forward David Blu, "is that he's able to adjust to his players." Wall Street Journal

July 18, 2014 Updates

Q: The more we learn about the Sports Illustrated story in which LeBron announced his return, the more it’s clear this was quietly in the works in the first week of July. When did you know you had a real chance to get him? David Blatt: When I got the job, and I was spending time with Griff [David Griffin, the team’s GM], working on the draft and on free agency, and trying to offer my insight into building the team — they made me aware of the slight possibility of bringing in LeBron. And the neat thing is, we never even mentioned his name. He was just “the guy.” Q: Really? David Blatt: It was “the guy.” That’s it. LeBron — it reminds me of that Superman movie, the last one, when he comes down and sees Lois Lane, and he says, “I’m always around.” LeBron is part of Ohio, and part of Cleveland, and Akron. So when you’re thinking about anything, if there’s the slightest possibility that he would come back, then he’s always around. He’s in the collective thought process. Grantland

July 16, 2014 Updates

Really? It was “the guy.” That’s it. LeBron — it reminds me of that Superman movie, the last one, when he comes down and sees Lois Lane, and he says, “I’m always around.” LeBron is part of Ohio, and part of Cleveland, and Akron. So when you’re thinking about anything, if there’s the slightest possibility that he would come back, then he’s always around. He’s in the collective thought process. Grantland

You won’t play the full Princeton offense in Cleveland, right? In the full Princeton, there are no plays. Well, there are plays, but there are not called plays. According to the movement of the ball, and the movement of the center, you’re gonna get into certain sets that you read according to how the defense plays you. That’s the part of the Princeton offense you can see in my teams — the reading and the multi-option possibilities off of any play. The Princeton offense is something that takes a long time to develop. It requires a particular kind of player, and more than anything else, it requires the giving up on the part of all the players of almost everything they know. But elements of the Princeton offense, in my mind — they are the right way to play. Grantland

LeBron never really played the 4 [power forward] in Cleveland, but he played it a ton in Miami. Will you use him in that role, with just one traditional big man on the floor? I just came from the land of the stretch 4s. Stretch 4s became popular in the United States because of Europe. If anyone knows that style of play, it’s probably me. Yeah, you’ll see LeBron there. You’ll see LeBron all over the floor, just like he’s used to playing. I don’t have to change him. Grantland

The one guy people say is not a Blatt player — that he’s going to struggle with you — is Dion Waiters. He sometimes doesn’t get back on defense, his shot selection can get iffy. People are already worried you can’t coexist. Is that fair? That’s grossly unfair. Grossly. I’m really excited about working with Dion. I hope I can help make him a better player, and reach the level I know he wants to be at. He’s got great talent. I’ve spoken to him, and I think he’s a really good guy. I’m excited as hell about working with him. By the way, part of any player’s performance is how the coach works with him, and helps him find his way. Dion Waiters and any other player on the Cavs — it’s my responsibility. It’s my job to get the best out of him. It’s not his job solely to be this, or to be that. That’s my job. Grantland

I watched the press conference you held after you guys won the Euroleague this year. You said something that surprised me: that the team you beat in the final game, Real Madrid, would have beaten you in a longer series. Do you think NBA playoff series should be shorter, so that there would be more upsets? No. I think the seven-game series is great. I love the history of it. I love the tradition of it. [John] Havlicek stole the ball in the seventh game, man! He didn’t even steal it, either. He deflected it. And Johnny Most goes crazy: “Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!” But that’s the beauty of it. It’s a moment that’s frozen in time, and it can’t be in the fifth game. It has to be in the seventh game. Now, in Europe, the final four is how you determine the Euroleague champion. And that’s fine. And what I said was true. The teams we beat in the final four were much stronger than us on paper. If we had to play them in a seven-game series, I don’t believe we would have won. Grantland

July 14, 2014 Updates

NBA coaching sources tell ESPN.com that Blatt, like the majority of his peers, has a number of incentives in his new contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers contingent on regular-season and playoff success. Yet sources say that the incentives, over the life of the contract, could be worth up to $10 million, which is suddenly significant because Blatt figures to do a lot more winning than we might have projected a week ago after LeBron’s blockbuster announcement that he’s coming back to play for his home-state Cavs. ESPN.com

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