A month after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Euroleague championship, David Blatt agreed to a four-year deal to become the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, according to a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations.
Blatt, 55, has no prior N.B.A. experience, having spent the past 20 years coaching teams in Israel, Greece, Russia and Turkey. But he was a point guard for Princeton from 1977 to 1981, and he is considered an offensive guru, typically running the so-called Princeton offense he learned under Coach Pete Carril.
Blatt reportedly was being considered by Golden State as an assistant under the new coach, Steve Kerr. But Cleveland, which fired Mike Brown after the season and holds the No. 1 pick in the coming draft, opted to make a splash with a hiring that some may view as truly out of left field.
The dominant run of the San Antonio Spurs, however, with their large percentage of international players, has opened eyes about the increasingly global nature of the game. Another coach with a mostly European background, Mike D’Antoni, has had plenty of success in the N.B.A. since the Phoenix Suns hired him from Italy in 2003.
Blatt was 222-55 in four seasons with Maccabi Tel Aviv. He also earned a bronze medal coaching Russia at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.