David Blatt trailblazed an NBA head coaching job straight from an overseas league, lucked into one of the best players in NBA history joining his roster, and appears primed to compliment LeBron James in the frontcourt with the likely acquisition of Kevin Love in a few weeks. So why is the rookie NBA coach not completely at ease with being in Cleveland right now?
The new coach of the Cavaliers tells Globes.co, “I don’t feel comfortable not being in Israel at a time like this.” For the last four years, Blatt coached Maccabi Tel Aviv, which just won the Euroleague title in May. He’s a coach who has traveled all over the basketball-shaped world–Turkey, Russia, Greece, Israel, the United States–to lead teams. But with Israelis fighting Hamas, Blatt feels his place might be several thousand miles east of Cleveland.
“That’s exactly what’s making me uncomfortable,” the Princeton graduate tells the Israeli business publication. “I’ve always been in Israel at the hardest times. Since Operation Protective Edge began, I feel being in Israel is the most natural thing for me to do. My work is here, though, and I have to get ready for the coming season. It’s not easy for me when I’m constantly thinking about what’s happening in Israel.”
Blatt plans on reuniting with his family in Israel later this month. Cavaliers fans hope that he can keep his head in Cleveland this season.
The Cavs coach has a definite opinion on the conflict. He says he “absolutely” supports the combat operation. Blatt holds that the support for Israel’s military efforts is “not enough” in the United States but more than it has been in past conflicts.
“In my opinion, this war is Israel’s most justified war I can remember in recent years,” Blatt maintains. “I’m really sorry about what’s happening in Gaza, but there’s no doubt that we had to act there, so that Israel will have quiet there once and for all, and we can live in peace.”