Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt was recently offered a long-term contract to coach Maccabi Tel Aviv, a basketball team in Israel. He ultimately rejected it, opting to return to Darüşşafaka, a Turkish team.
Why did Blatt do this? Because he doesn’t want to make a long-term commitment, knowing that his ultimate goal is an NBA return.
“I have an end game and that end game is that I would really like to go back to the NBA,” Blatt said, via Allon Sinai of The Jerusalem Post. “There were no changes in the NBA this year from a coaching standpoint and my real goal is to try next year to get back into the league as a head coach. It may happen and it may not happen. But I wanted to leave that door open for myself if the opportunity arises.”
Based on his record, Blatt certainly deserves a second chance. Blatt has an NBA record of 83-40 and led the Cavs to an Eastern Conference Championship in 2015. Following a 30-11 start in 2016, Blatt was fired by Cleveland, but it was not without controversy.
It would be easy to attribute Blatt’s NBA success to coaching a star-studded team led by LeBron James. There’s some truth to that and far more likely than not, a new NBA job would not involve coaching such talent.
But at the same time, the coaching profession is filled with guys who didn’t excel until their second or even third chances. For example, Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stots was a combined 115-168 with the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks. But in Stotts’ five seasons in Portland, the Blazers have a 223-187 mark and have made the playoffs four times.
When noting that and other comparable experiences, it would be hard to argue that Blatt doesn’t deserve at least one more chance as an NBA head man.