By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv's head coach, David Blatt, who led the team to three titles during the 2013-14 season, has announced his decision to leave Maccabi. At a press conference on Thursday night, Blatt said, "I want everyone to know that I'm leaving home but not leaving the family. My heart is heavy but full, because I know it's the right thing to do at this point in my career. I was very honored to work with Maccabi for nine years, especially the last four, which were very special. I will always appreciate what we achieved in my nine years here, but more than that I will always appreciate the people with whom I worked, beginning with my assistant, or I would say associate head coach, Guy Goodes, who is an excellent professional and coach in his own right, and a good friend. Also Avi Kowalski; we've worked together since my first day all the way up until last night. He is the number one professional in his field in all of Europe, and a good friend, too."
"I also want to give huge thanks to Alon Stein," Blatt continued, "both as a player and an assistant coach. Also Derrick Sharp and Avi Even, and Pini Gershon, with whom I worked as an assistant coach during a very successful period. All of them helped me to improve and the team to succeed. I also want to thank the management of Maccabi for all they have done for me, for the club, and for the country. It's a lot more than people think or know. And they don't ask for anything in return, which is very rare. They make an enormous effort to preserve the name and standards of the club and to provide best example possible."
Blatt went on, "I'm not leaving Maccabi for bigger contract, I am leaving to pursue a different dream for my career, one which began in my childhood when I grew up watching the Boston Celtics. This is something I have not yet achieved and I truly believe that this is the best time to make this move. Maccabi asked me to stay, it was my decision to leave. I am very proud to have been a part of this team and club, and I thank you again from the bottom of my heart."
Club president Shimon Mizrahi said, "David Blatt has, with a small break in the middle, been with Maccabi for nine years. This year he led Maccabi to every possible title. I want to make it clear that several weeks ago, before the Final Four, we met with David in order to have him continue with the club. Today he informed us that, after a great deal of consideration, at age 55 he has decided to take advantage of the opportunity he has to work in the NBA. There were no disagreements over financial issues, because it never reached that point. Money was never an issue. We are proud to have a representative in the NBA, we wish David success and hope that one day he will return. Thank you for everything."
David Federman added, "I told David a few years ago that I see him as a part of the staff that would be with the club for the next ten years. Even then it was obvious that there would be only two things that could prevent that: if he was named ambassador to the United Nations, or if he was offered a job in the NBA. When he told us about the offers he has received, we realized that it's a big advancement for him. I am certain he will be successful there."