David Blatt Rumors
Ferrell recounted each sputter on the train back from the failed tryout. “A lot of time just to sit and think about it,” he said. “I felt like, it didn’t work for Brooklyn, it didn’t work for the Sixers, what’s going to be next for me?” His break-in-case-of-emergency option, playing overseas in Europe, grew increasingly more attractive. By late January, Ferrell’s agent, Keith Kreiter, had arranged a phone call with former Cavaliers head coach David Blatt to discuss the logistics of joining Darussafaka in Turkey. Mere hours before Blatt was scheduled to call, Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson intervened with a 10-day contract. “It happened fast,” Ferrell said.
“David’s a really good coach,” said Stevens, who texted with Blatt after Zizic signed with Darussafaka. “I think, obviously, I don’t know what they are running or how they are guarding, I haven’t watched how they play, but David certainly has a great feel for the way that this league works and everything else. He’ll be practicing against and playing against very good players who are older, more experience and more accomplished, and then David will help, obviously, in that development as well.”
Do you think LeBron James is coachable? David Blatt: Hey, listen: How many championships has he won? Obviously, he’s coachable. I can name you 30 NBA coaches right now that would love to have him. Do you think LeBron James fired you? David Blatt: I don’t think that. Of course he didn’t fire me. He’s not the one to do that. That was the management decision.
Keith Dambrot, the head basketball coach at the University of Akron, coached James at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, and the two are still close. I called him the other day on the road, to ask about working with the greatest player in the world. “You can’t be afraid to coach him,” Dambrot says, in a charming twang. “Like all great players, he wants to be coached. I still tell him the truth whenever I talk to him. I think that’s what you do with people you care about: tell ’em the truth. And whenever he’s had any slippage, I know he’s got in his heart, and in his mind, goodness.” “You can’t do anything without LeBron’s blessing; it doesn’t take Albert Einstein to figure that out,” he says of Blatt’s firing. “But LeBron’s never said a negative thing to me about Coach Blatt. And that’s the honest-to-God truth.”
How do you evaluate your own performance in Cleveland? David Blatt: I wish that I had had the knowledge and the experience that I have now when I first came in. I think I could have done a much better job. I know I could have. And I probably could have handled everything a lot easier. But, I didn’t! I went through what I went through. I know in my heart I could have done more. I could have done a better job. Although, I didn’t do a BAD job.
It also left Blatt the forgotten man in the most memorable NBA Finals of a generation. At the time, Blatt was in Italy consulting for the Canadian national team. “Certainly, you feel a twinge,” he tells me. “But look, I had a lot of people that I worked with on that team. I felt genuine happiness for them. I knew what we’d gone through to bring the team to that point, where they could compete on that level. There was genuine joy for the people I cared about.” Due to time differences, Blatt didn’t watch the Finals live. “I was following it, but I wasn’t watching,” he says, “because I was asleep.”
There were NBA assistant opportunities discussed, but Blatt was only focused on top openings in New York, Houston and Sacramento. “I was interviewing for head coaching jobs,” Blatt would tell me later of his post-Cleveland days. “And if I wasn’t gonna get one, I was gonna come back to Europe. I made that decision on day one.”