NBA job would interest Blatt

Sep 18, 2007 - 3:03 PM MILAN, Italy (Ticker) -- Fresh from guiding Russia to EuroBasket glory, coach David Blatt has set his sights on America.

The Boston-born Israeli is now set to take charge of Turkish club Efes Pilsen, but admits his ambition is to return to the land of his birth.

"I cannot hide it, I would like to (coach in the NBA)," Blatt told Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy.

"I still remember when I was eight years old and I listened on the radio to the Boston Celtics games with the legendary voice of Johnny Most. If I don't achieve it, I will still remain a huge fan of the NBA."

Blatt's Russia team claimed their European crown on Sunday night, edging out world champions 60-59 when NBA All-Star Pau Gasol missed a chance to snatch victory at the buzzer.

Seconds earlier, Pittsburgh native and naturalized Russian J.R. Holden had put his team ahead with a jump shot, but it was Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko and Chicago Bulls reserve Victor Kryapa who had starred for Blatt's team.

Kirilenko finished with 17 points, five rebounds two assists, one blocked shot and a steal on his way to Most Valuable Player honors for the tournament while Kryapa had 12 rebounds to go with his seven points, four assists, three steals, one blocked shot. For Blatt, winning EuroBasket highlights a resume which includes a FIBA Europe League title with Dynamo St Petersburg and a host of honors in Italy with Benetton Treviso, including the 2005-06 Lega A title.

"(The EuroBasket) is right at the top because I represent a nation, and because no-one - and I mean no-one - thought we could do it," he said.

"If you find somebody that did, I would buy them dinner."

If he does take over an NBA team one day and wins a title, he will get to enjoy the time-honored tradition of receiving a congratulatory phone call from the president. Did Vladimir Putin call Blatt immediately after the game?

"No, I don't know if he has my number," Blatt said. "I think he has better things to think about ... in any case I think I have had a better week than him."

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