Former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt reportedly will join the University of Arizona as a professional consultant.
According to Ynetnews.com’s Nadav Zenziper, Blatt will no longer continue coaching at Maccabi Tel Aviv due to health concerns. The 64-year-old was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) back in 2019.
“Furthermore, it has come to light that his upcoming position for the approaching season will be as a professional consultant for the University of Arizona’s team in the NCAA college basketball league,” Zenziper wrote.
Blatt is currently at the 2023 FIBA World Cup in the Phillipines where he is serving in his role as a consultant for the Canadian national team.
“Blatt has informed us that he will not continue in his position due to health reasons,” a senior figure at Maccabi Tel Aviv confirmed for the first time. “We tried to persuade him to remain in any capacity he finds suitable, but it seems he will permanently leave for the United States. His physical condition makes flying and related activities quite challenging for him, which is very unfortunate for us. He’s keeping things close to his chest and we naturally respect every decision he makes.”
Since Blatt has multiple sclerosis, he has had difficulties with air travel, making it tough for him to remain in a head coaching position at Maccabi Tel Aviv. He shouldn’t be faced with that issue as often if he’s a consultant for Arizona.
“David is grappling with the travel situation; he’s likely to relocate to the United States and has received several offers from there,” a close associate shared. “He’s one of the most esteemed figures in sports, a prominent face in Israeli sports, making this situation quite painful.”
Blatt coached the Cavaliers for parts of two seasons – the 2014-15 campaign and the 2015-16 campaign. He led the Cavs to the NBA Finals in the 2014-15 season, but the team lost to the Golden State Warriors.
After starting the 2015-16 season with a 30-11 in 41 games, Blatt was fired by the Cavs and replaced by Tyronn Lue.
Despite the team’s great record at the time, then-Cavs general manager David Griffin believed that a change was necessary.
“I have never seen a locker room not be as connected after wins as they need to be,” Griffin said after firing Blatt. “We’ve only been galvanized when expectations were not high.”
Lue ended up leading the Cavs to an NBA title that season, as the team erased a 3-1 series deficit against Golden State in the NBA Finals.
Lue remained the Cavs’ head coach for a few more seasons before moving on. He is currently the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers and is helping Team USA at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Over his time with the Cavs, Blatt put together a 83-40 record (.675 winning percentage) in 123 games. He led the team to a 14-6 playoff record as well.
Blatt’s basketball mind is extremely respected across the world, and he should provide a ton of insight at Arizona in his new role.