Blatt moves closer to Mac TA

After holding meetings management about a return, former Maccabi coach says he is hopeful a deal will be reached.

311_David Blatt (photo credit: Courtesy)
311_David Blatt
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The appointment of David Blatt as Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Pini Gershon’s replacement moved a step closer on Monday.
After meeting with the club’s management, Blatt, a former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach, appeared positive about the likelihood of the two sides coming to an agreement.
“I really hope that this time it will happen,” he said, referring to a number of occasions in recent years where his name has been mentioned but other coaches have been appointed. “Maccabi Tel Aviv is a special club which needs a change. I believe I can make this change.”
Despite heavy investment in both players and coaching staff last summer, the yellowand- blue finished a disastrous season under Gershon just under two weeks ago by losing in the BSL championship final to underdog Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.
Having already been ousted from the Euroleague at the quarterfinal stage by Partizan Belgrade, Gershon had no choice but to hand in his resignation.
Blatt, who coached Maccabi for two years from 2001- 2003, has built an impressive resumé since leaving Israel, including winning the EuroBasket title as coach of the Russian national team and leading Dynamo St. Petersburg to the FIBA Eurocup title.
Born in Boston in 1959, Blatt moved to Israel in 1981 after playing for the US at the Maccabiah Games.
“There is no doubt that with the quality people within the Maccabi management there is a great possibility to move the team forward,” said Blatt, who also spent three years as Gershon’s assistant.
“I had five great years at Maccabi so I know how special it is. So if everything works out, then I will be coming home.” But Blatt warned that this is not the first time he has discussed the possibility of becoming Maccabi coach in recent years so nothing is certain until a deal is done.
Maccabi co-owner David Federman told reporters that he was satisfied with the discussions with Blatt.
“Blatt is thinking and we are thinking and within a few days we will know where we are going,” Federman said after the meetings. “We want David at Maccabi.” If Blatt does complete his negotiations to the satisfaction of both sides, he is expected to bring more Israeli players into the fold than have been on the team in recent years, with former Maccabi star Tal Burstein rumored to be on the brink of a return to Yad Eliyahu.
Blatt is believed to be demanding a salary in the region of $400,000 for his first season in charge.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Jerusalem’s management has been making progress in its search for a coach to replace Guy Goodes.
Israel national team coach Arik Shivek is favored to take the job and was due to meet with Hapoel representatives on Tuesday.