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Cavaliers name David Blatt as head coach

LOS ANGELES--David Blatt, who guided Israeli club Maccabi Tel-Aviv to the 2014 Euroleague Championship, was named the new coach of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

Cavaliers general manager David Griffin announced the hiring, calling Blatt “a great basketball coach and a special person.”

“His abilities to communicate, to build relationships with his players and to foster winning environments at several stops throughout Europe and across the highest levels of International competition speaks for itself,” Griffin said.

Blatt, 55, guided perennial powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv to a 54-18 record this season, winning the Israel League, Israeli Cup and the Euroleague title.

During his six years as head coach (2001-2003 and 2010-2014), Blatt led the team to six Israeli Cup Championships and five Israeli League Championships.

Blatt also spent six years as head coach of the Russian National Team, where in 2007, he guided Russia to a FIBA European Championship over then reigning World Champion Spain in Madrid.

He guided Russia to the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

“He brings unbridled passion, energy and creativity to his craft,” Griffin said. “These qualities have enabled David to reach a level of success that is truly unique.

“I have watched David's work for many years. He has an uncanny ability to adapt his system to maximize the talents of his teams year after year. That is why I am very confident he will make a smooth transition to the NBA.”

Blatt, a Massachusetts native, spent 33 years as a player and coach in Europe after playing at the college level at Princeton University.

The Cavaliers were in search of a replacement for Mike Brown, who was sacked in May after the Cavs' 33-49 season.

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