Basketball: Blatt forced to move on from Efes Pilsen

Team and Blatt part ways "by mutual agreement," but Israeli coach admits that he would have been happy to remain with the club.

blatt david 88 (photo credit: )
blatt david 88
(photo credit: )
David Blatt was still coming to terms on Monday with the fact that for the first time in years he's out of a job. Turkish club Efes Pilsen released a statement on Sunday saying that the team and Blatt decided to part ways by mutual agreement, but the Israeli coach admitted on Monday that he would have been happy to remain with the club. The 81-77 league defeat to Pinar Karsiyaka proved to be Blatt's last game in charge. "The president of the club was cross and frustrated after our loss on Sunday and wanted to shake up the team," Blatt told Israeli media. "I was very surprised by this and it hurt me, but there was no point in arguing. I've been coaching for 15 years and this is the first time something like this has happened to me." Blatt and the Pilsen management met after the game on Sunday, the side's seventh league defeat in 27 games. Pilsen, which is in second position in the Turkish league, was knocked out at the top 16 stage of the Euroleague. "Our results this season both in Turkey and the Euroleague have not satisfied us," Efes Pilsen General Manager Engin Ozerhun said. "We decided to discuss the situation after the game against Pinar Karsiyaka and parted ways with Mr. Blatt in mutual understanding. We thank Mr. Blatt for his partnership." Blatt, who is also the coach of the Russian national team, joined Pilsen from Benetton Treviso where he won an Italian championship and cup in his two seasons at the club. Reports in the Russian media in recent days have claimed that Blatt will join CSKA Moscow in the summer, replacing departing coach Ettore Messina. The Israeli said on Monday, however, that there is no truth to the rumors. "The reports connecting me and CSKA were part of the problem at Pilsen because it frustrated the club bosses," Blatt said. "They were concerned that there's something to the rumors, but the truth is that they're completely untrue. Nobody from CSKA has spoken to me and I haven't been approached by anybody connected to the club."