David Blatt has emerged as the leading candidate to become the next coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a league source confirmed Thursday. Yahoo Sports reported the Cavs offered the position to Blatt early Thursday evening, but sources on both sides denied an offer had been made.
The Cavs had narrowed their choices to Blatt and Los Angeles Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue, one league source with knowledge of the team's coaching search said, but by late afternoon Thursday, the focus shifted to Blatt.
Blatt has been under pressure from the Golden State Warriors to make a decision. The Warriors have held open a spot on coach Steve Kerr's staff for him, but need an answer from Blatt soon. Blatt is represented by former New York Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, who also represents Kerr.
The Cavs have conducted an exhaustive search to replace Mike Brown.
In pursuing Lue, one league source with knowledge of the Cavs' plans said they were looking for the league's next Doc Rivers after Lue has coached under Rivers in both Boston and Los Angeles.
Blatt is a highly regarded 55-year-old American who has spent his entire career coaching overseas.
He guided Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Israeli League championship and the Euroleague championship this season and coached the Russians to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
While the Cavs strived for clarity in their coaching search Thursday, top draft prospect Joel Embiid's draft stock took a major hit. His agent, Arn Tellem, confirmed that Embiid has a stress fracture in the navicular bone of his right foot and will undergo surgery Friday to repair it. As a result, he will not attend next week's NBA draft.
The navicular bone is the same one that caused Zydrunas Ilgauskas many problems throughout the early years of his career.
Cavaliers doctors discovered the fracture during his pre-draft visit to Cleveland last week, Yahoo Sports reported.
Cavs doctors have a reputation for being incredibly thorough during their pre-draft examinations, particularly with players who carry past injury issues. This wouldn't be the first time that Cavs doctors discovered an injury on a potential draft pick.
Embiid already carried injury concerns after a stress fracture in his back limited him to 28 games last season at Kansas.
Now, this injury could eliminate him from consideration for the top overall pick by the Cavs, who are scheduled to welcome Jabari Parker for a workout Friday.
(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services