CLEVELAND — Weeks after coaching Maccabi Tel Aviv to its first Euroleague title in almost a decade, David Blatt is reportedly in talks with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
The team has contacted Blatt about its coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Friday.
Blatt, a highly regarded offensive coach who guided Russia to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, is one of several candidates who have spoken with the Cavs, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Blatt has not yet had a formal interview, the person said.
Blatt’s agent, Mike Tannenbaum, did not return a message asking for comment, the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper reported.
The American-born Blatt recently led Maccabi to the European championship. With a roster that included seven former US college players, Maccabi upset heavily favored CSKA Moscow in the semifinals and Real Madrid for the title, setting off a jubilant celebration in Tel Aviv, and sparking renewed talk of a possible jump to the NBA.
Following the game, Blatt received congratulatory phone calls from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.
The Cavs, who counted Israeli Omri Casspi on their roster until 2013, are being thorough in their hunt to replace Mike Brown.
Brown was fired May 12, ending his second stint with the team. Cleveland underachieved under Brown, going 33-49 and missing the playoffs.
Blatt also has drawn interest from New York, Minnesota and Golden State as an assistant coach.
The Cavs are not commenting during their search. The club has already interviewed Clippers assistants Alvin Gentry and Tyronn Lue, former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins, Chicago assistant Adrian Griffin, and former Clippers and Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro. The team has reached out to other candidates as well.
It is not believed that any of the candidates has had a second interview.
Blatt played point guard at Princeton under Pete Carril, whose complex, deliberate offense has been copied by coaches for years. Blatt played pro ball in Israel before he started his coaching career. He spent several years coaching in Russia before taking over Maccabi in 2010.
Blatt took over Russia’s struggling national team in 2006, and the Massachusetts native turned the country’s program around, leading it to the 2007 European championship.
Russia, with Cavaliers guard Sergey Karasev on its roster, went 4-1 in pool play at the London Games before losing to Spain in the semifinals.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.