INDEPENDENCE: With all the talk about David Blatt’s offensive ingenuity, the new coach of the Cavs wanted to make something clear during his opening remarks Wednesday.
“I’m not an offensive or defensive coach,” he said. “I’m a basketball coach.”
Blatt appeared confident and bold during his introductory press conference, dismissing the stigma over players’ egos and declaring he’s won everywhere he’s been.
“I plan on doing the same here,” he said.
Cavs General Manager David Griffin said he contacted 11 coaching candidates before settling on Blatt, who becomes the first coach to make the leap from Europe directly to an NBA head coaching job.
“I think a big part of it has just been timing and opportunity,” Griffin said. “David happened to have swept all of the championships he was capable of winning this year and reached a point in his life where he knew he was ready to make the jump.”
Blatt takes over a team full of possibilities. They have the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s draft, plenty of cap space and LeBron James’ free agency looming over the franchise. Blatt flew to Israel last week while his contract was being finalized, then returned to Cleveland on Tuesday.
He understands the opportunity in front of him and the significance of his hiring.
“I know that I’m carrying a torch,” Blatt said. “I hope like hell I don’t drop it.”