With Doc Rivers’ departure from the Celtics imminent, the question needs to be asked: Who will be the next coach for Boston?
With Danny Ainge taking out the dynamite, looking to trade or buyout Paul Pierce and then deciding what to do with Kevin Garnett (no-trade clause) and Rajon Rondo (head case), the Celtics are going to be a rebuilding team for the forseeable future.
You think George Karl or Lionel Hollins want any part of that?
I do not.
But I do know of one American who has achieved more success as a coach overseas than any other ex-pat. He is David Blatt, currently the coach of Maccabi Tel-Aviv and formerly the coach of the Russian national team, which won the 2007 Eurobasket gold medal game against Spain — in Madrid, no less — and the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Blatt grew up in Framingham, Mass., and his resume is as impressive as any candidate available (and Blatt is available, but he does not want to come back to America as an assistant, only as a head coach. The head job at Maccabi is one of the most prestigious positions in the world).
After playing point guard for Princeton for four years under Pete Carril from 1977 to 1981, Blatt played briefly overseas before turning to coaching.
In 2004, he moved to Russia and signed on as head coach with Dynamo Saint Petersburg. During this year, he won the FIBA EuroCup championship with Dynamo and also the title of “Coach of the Year in Russia” (2004–05 season).
For the 2005–06 season, he signed on as head coach of the Israeli national basketball team, but his appointment fell through due to the lack of a formal coaching certificate. He left Israel to become head coach of Benetton Treviso of the Italian League, and subsequently led them to the Italian Championship through a 3–1 victory in the final series of the Italian playoffs. In the same year, he was also appointed the head coach of the Russian national basketball team.
Blatt was also the head coach of the Istanbul-based Turkish Basketball League team Efes Pilsen, however, he parted ways with the team on April 6, 2008. In 2008, with Ettore Messina then announcing that he would leave CSKA Moscow, Blatt was considered to be the favorite to replace him, but Messina eventually stayed on as CSKA’s coach and Blatt agreed to the offer to become the head coach of Dynamo Moscow instead. In early 2010, Blatt served a stint as the head coach of the Greek League club Aris Thessaloniki, before moving on to coach Maccabi.
Would Danny Ainge consider him? That remains to be seen. For now, more on Blatt — and other NBA news — in this podcast with John Stashower of NBCSportsRadio.