CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cavaliers’ exhaustive head coaching search is expanding — again.
The team will interview former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt, a person familiar with the team’s plans told The Associated Press on Thursday. Earlier in the day, Blatt announced in Israel that he’s leaving the European champion to pursue an unspecified job in the NBA. He’ll meet with the Cavs next week, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team is not discussing any aspect of its search — now a month old.
The 55-year-old Blatt has known Cavs general manager David Griffin for years. At his news conference, Blatt, who led Maccabi to its first European title this year, said he’s weighing offers from unnamed teams and has “a few good options.” He’s expected to make a decision soon.
“I am leaving here not because I was asked to. The opposite is true, I was asked to stay, and offered the best possible conditions for such an event,” Blatt said. “But I just felt it is a move I wanted to make. It has been a dream of mine for almost forever to go and join a team in the NBA in some capacity.
“I wish I could have done it as a player. I wasn’t good enough. But now perhaps I’ll have that opportunity as a coach.”
Blatt has drawn interest to be an assistant with New York, Golden State and Minnesota. The Cavs, though, are interested in talking to him about being their head coach. They reached out to him last week, but had not set up a face-to-face meeting.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer was first to report Blatt’s interview.
Blatt is just the latest candidate to interview with the Cavs, who will have a second meeting with Clippers assistant coach Alvin Gentry on Friday.
The person familiar with the team’s plans also said the Cavs will meet for the second time with another Clippers assistant, former NBA guard Tyronn Lue.
Gentry and Lue are expected to speak with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who did not participate in the team’s first round of interviews.
The team has contacted as many as 12 candidates to fill the vacancy created when owner Dan Gilbert fired Mike Brown — for the second time — on May 12.
The Cavs would like to have a coach in place by the NBA draft on June 26, but obviously, the team isn’t rushing into any decisions.
Earlier this week, the Cavs interviewed former Cleveland All-Star guard Mark Price, now an assistant with Charlotte. Price has limited head coaching experience, but Griffin has said the team will not be restricted in its search.