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Elite European coach Dave Blatt coming to NBA, question is where?


Dave Blatt is an American — born in Boston, he played college ball as a point guard at Princeton under the legendary Pete Carrill. However, he made his name as a coach overseas — this year he led Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv to the EuroLeague title, last year he coached the Russians up to the bronze medal in the London Olympics.

Now the coach known for offensive innovation is coming back stateside… it’s just we don’t know where yet.

Blatt told Maccabi Tel Aviv he is leaving to give the NBA a shot, reports Allon Sinai of the Jerusalem Post (confirmed by Monte Poole of

“I’m leaving my home, but not my family. I feel that this is the right thing for me to do,” said Blatt. “I’m not leaving Maccabi for a bigger contract. I’m not necessarily leaving for a better place. I’m leaving to follow my dream….

“I feel that this is the best time for me to leave. I was offered to stay but I decided to take this step,” said Blatt. “The truth is that I don’t know yet where I am going. There are several options, good options, and now that I have told Maccabi that I’m leaving I will intensify my talks with NBA teams. I just want to realize a dream and hold a significant role with an NBA team.”

The question is where that dream takes him — Golden State is talking to Blatt about being the lead assistant with Steve Kerr, taking charge of the Stephen Curry-led offense; Cleveland is talking to him about a head coaching job, where he would have Kyrie Irving and this year’s No. 1 pick to build an offense around. (There had been talk of Minnesota next to Flip Saunders, but with them hiring Sam Mitchell as the lead assistant/coach in waiting this option is now dead.)

This would be a great hire for either side, Blatt is one of the most innovative offensive minds around. Monte Pool explains.

Blatt is a proponent of constant ball movement and multiple picks, as well as players identifying and reaching preferred spots on the floor from which to shoot.

It’s hard to turn down a head coaching job if offered, but for selfish reasons as a fan of basketball I hope he takes the Golden State offer — his mind with those weapons could lead to one of the most interesting offenses in the league. A potential powerhouse. Do that for a year or two and he will have his head coaching job.

Either way, he is coming to the states.

Report: Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer urged Danny Ferry to resign

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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When Danny Ferry’s racism scandal came to light, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer publicly supported his general manager. Budenholzer called the “African” remarks about Luol Deng “very much out of character” and said Ferry was trying to learn from his mistakes.

And while Budenholzer might not have done anything privately to contradict his public statements, his tone apparently differed with Ferry and then-owner Bruce Levenson last fall.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Budenholzer very much owed his job to Ferry. His former Spurs colleague had pleaded with Levenson that the Gregg Popovich assistant was the man for the position. Yet Budenholzer felt Ferry should resign, lest the Hawks be subsumed in disruption when training camp opened, and he made his wishes known in a heartfelt conversation with Ferry and Levenson at that time.

In some respect, Budenholzer was just doing his job as coaching – trying to maximize his teams chances of on-court success. Ferry didn’t resign. He took a leave of absence that lasted until he agreed to a buyout this summer. That was apparently enough to avoid a paralyzing distraction. The Hawks won 60 games and reached their first conference finals since moving to Atlanta.

Ferry’s departure also significantly benefitted Budenholzer personally. Budenholzer ran the Hawks’ front office during Ferry’s leave, and the new owners have installed him as the teams permanent president.

The only other four active coaches with personnel control experienced much more success before getting the dual president/coach title.

Gregg Popovich coached the Spurs to four championships and 11 playoff berths before they named him president in 2008. Doc Rivers won Coach of the Year with the Magic and then guided the Celtics to a title during his 14 seasons before the Clippers plucked him to run their franchise. Stan Van Gundy steered the Heat and Magic to the playoffs in all seven of his full seasons, including a trip to the 2009 NBA Finals with Orlando, before getting hired by the Pistons. Flip Saunders won more games than every other Timberwolves coach combined, is responsible for every playoff win in franchise history and made four trips to the conference finals (including thrice with the Pistons) over 16 total seasons before Minnesota gave him the huge role.

Budenholzer has been a head coach just two seasons, including a 38-44 debut year. He has done a good job, winning Coach of the Year last season, and he might make a good team president.

But he lacks the track record most coaches need to gain such status. Budenholzer, more than anything, was at the right place at the right time.

Report: Rockets will try to sign Alessandro Gentile next summer

Alessandro Gentile, Paulius Jankunas
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The Rockets tried signing Sergio Llull this summer, but he opted for a long-term extension with Real Madrid.

So, they’ll just turn to another player in their large chest of stashed draft picks – Alessandro Gentile.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Gentile, who was selected No. 53 in the 2014, is a 22-year-old wing for Armani Milano. He’s a good scorer, but he primarily works from mid-range – an area the Rockets eschew. He can get to the rim in Europe, but his subpar athleticism might hinder him in the NBA.

If Gentile comes stateside, he’ll face a steep learning curve. But he’s young enough and talented enough that he could develop into a rotation player.