July 30, 2014

David Blatt advised not to take Cavs job, but to take assistant job with Golden State

blatt

On Wednesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally sat down with former Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach David Blatt to discuss the team’s vacant position. But how did it go? According to David Pick, it went well.

But who is David Pick, you ask? According to his Twitter profile, he is a Senior Correspondent with Eurobasket.com and ONE.co.il, as well as a contributor to Sportando.com. But more importantly, Pick is the guy who has been on top of the Blatt situation from Day 1.

It was David Pick who spoke first-hand to Blatt to ask him about interviewing with the Cavaliers. It was Pick who announced that Blatt was holding a press conference to announce he was leaving Maccabi Tel Aviv for the NBA. From the start, Pick has been all over the Blatt story. Having covered him so much for European basketball, it’s clear Pick is well connected on this story.

So why am I going so far out of my way to prop up Pick and defend him against doubters? Well, because right after he tweeted about how well Blatt’s interview went, he followed it up with this tweet:

Ouch. Remember, Blatt is 55 years old. He’s not exactly a spring chicken with plenty of time to find a head coaching job. If he were to get a head coaching job today, he would already be the eighth-oldest coach in the league1.

It would be easy, then, to discount Pick’s report as nonsense. How could anyone possibly tell Blatt he should take an assistant job rather than a head coaching job? Well, it all goes back to the Cavalier organization. I said from Day 1 that, regardless of whether Mike Brown deserved to be fired or not, removing a coach after one season carries consequences. On top of all the other talk about Dan Gilbert meddling with team affairs and having unrealistic expectations of his basketball people, you have the simple reality that the Cavaliers do not resemble a stable, professional organization. They are, quite frankly, a mess.

That doesn’t mean Blatt won’t take the job (or that the Cavs will even offer it to him, for that matter). It just means that it’s abundantly clear just how poorly outsiders view the franchise. While Dan Gilbert is running around behind Griffin’s back trying to lure big-name high-profile college coaches (and getting rejected left and right no matter how much money he throws at them), Griffin is left interviewing the reasonable candidates.

But what if Griffin wants to hire Blatt, and Blatt turns him down because of the advice of his advisors? Gilbert is playing an extremely dangerous game here if all the reports are true. He is undercutting his GM’s authority and tarnishing the reputation of the franchise.

As a fan, it’s just extremely disheartening to see that advisors to a 55-year-old highly successful Euopean basketball coach are telling him it would be better for him to go be an assistant for another team (where he would be working under a rookie head coach none the less) rather than be a head coach for the Cavaliers.

Cavs fans are now stuck hoping either a) the reports about Gilbert’s meddling in the coaching search are untrue, b) the report of Blatt’s advisor’s are untrue, or c) Dan Gilbert will finally acquire some self-awareness and realize that despite what I’m sure he feels are best intentions, he is hurting this franchise. Otherwise, it’s a long, bleak road ahead of the Cavaliers this summer.

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Footnotes:

  1. The seven coaches currently older than Blatt are Gregg Popovich, Flip Saunders, Dwane Casey, Tom Thibodeau, Larry Drew, Terry Stotts, and Kevin McHale []
  • vedwin

    If you look at DG involvement (meddling) in basketball decisions from a business perspective it appears his goal is to have a playoff team that gets people into downtown Cleveland and into his casino and other downtown investments. The short way to do this is to draft a player that can make an impact right away and hire a big name coach. The slightly longer (and more risky) way is to build a stable oragnization with a long term vision ala the Spurs tha can actually contend for a title without colluding superstars.
    From an economic perspective is the delta between playoffs and actual championship contention all that great? I really don’t know. Both avenues will reach the goal eventually but I think I’d prefer the 2nd.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    I don’t know that the reasoning behind the advice has as much to do with the Cavs as with the NBA adjustment, especially as worded “diving in”. It’s a serious transition from Euro style basketball to the NBA, so it seems reasonable that taking an assistant job for a year or two wouldn’t hold back his career much. If anything, if he then looks for a job in a year or two as an NBA head coach, he will come off all the wiser for it and may get more $ as well.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    He’d be a rookie assistant under a rookie head coach if he went to Golden State. It’ll be tough to move up from that position.

    It will be easier for him to move back to an assistant position if he fails here and he can blame it on the “instability” here.

  • Harv 21

    Agree with all of this Andrew. Just like with the Browns, instability carries consequences, and when the owner is the face of your franchise it’s usually a bad thing.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-john-calipari-offered-cavaliers-20-million,36234/

  • Lunch

    I would counter the Euro to NBA comment by saying that all that David needs to do is hire a number of experienced NBA coaches that can help him ease into the league. Still I do agree with Andrew’s point about the Cavs firing Mike Brown after one year and potentially destabilizing the organization.

    The way I see it is this: take the easy way out and possibly miss out on your only opportunity to become a head coach, go with Golden State. Take a chance and learn more by being a head coach with the risk that you could be fired within a year or less, go with the Cavs. What do you got to lose?

  • Tom Mitchell

    Or he could just do a good job as the warriors asst and be hired as the HC for another team after a year or two. I don’t have any list in front if me, but I’d imagine more asst coaches get hired by other teams as HCs than are promoted to HC by that same franchise for which they were an asst.

  • Tom Mitchell

    Some people value security. Maybe he thinks he can parlay doing well as the GS asst into a HC job with more job security (atleast more perceived job security). The Mike Brown situation could def be seen as a warning for potential candidates. You could argue he should just do a good coaching job to maintain security, but we all know its MUCH more of a collective effort by the entire organization that determines the level of success.

  • Lunch

    After thinking about it, the Cavs coaching position could be quite secure. Just convince Dan to pay David $20 million over 5 years with $15 million guaranteed. If he’s fired after one year, BOOM, retire in style. He may not get another coaching gig any time soon, but he doesn’t have to worry about that.

  • Kyle

    To me it sounds like the advice Blatt has recived is impartial to teams and specific to his role with a team. It sounds like this person thinks he should get his feet wet in the NBA as an assistant first insted of diving head first into the NBA as a head coach. If thats the case and Blatt takes this advice Minnesota seems to be the logical destination.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Minnesota has been ruled out from the beginning by Blatt. No interest there.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    If he was a young, inexperienced coach, I would agree. But this guy has been a head coach since the mid 90s. He’s 55 years old. Yes, there will be an adjustment period, but he doesn’t need to be an assistant for that.

  • saggy

    i don’t know about this. I mean, this guy ain’t getting any younger, and the discrepancy between head coach and assistant coach is pretty big. Him taking a HC job with a 5-year contract would, one would think, pay $10-15 million more than an assistant gig.

    Plus, there are plenty of other assistants already in the queue, waiting to be interviewed for that next opening. Considering the NBA loves former players, what makes Blatt’s sources think that he’ll get the next call over guys like Lue, Gentry, or any of the other retread HCs looking for work?

    I’m not buying – this makes no sense, either fiscally or in terms of ambition.

  • cmm13

    David Pick on local talk radio just clarified tweet in that it is not a
    knock against CLE but more of Blatt’s group advising him to enter the NBA as an assistant to start.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I just heard that and came here to give Ezzie kudos and to say it sounds like I was wrong. But yeah, there’s still some grey area there inside his vague statement that could mean anything.

    Anyway, it sounds like it’s all moot anyway since the Cavs and Blatt are currently negotiating a deal!

  • Tom Pestak

    But Golden State never should have fired Jackson so I don’t understand why the Cavs are the org with a bad reputation?