New Cavaliers coach David Blatt was just as excited as Cleveland fans to learn Friday that native son LeBron James was coming home to northeast Ohio.
Fans flooded the Cavaliers with ticket requests for the 2014-15 season. By the end of the day, the team had sold in excess of 12,000 tickets allotted for season packages, according to ESPN. The team holds back 8,000 tickets per game in Quicken Loans Arena for group plans and packages.
Blatt, hired just three weeks ago, could not believe his good fortune when he heard the news. He learned of James' decision while running a Cavaliers summer league practice in Las Vegas.
"To say that I'm excited and happy would probably qualify as one of the great understatements of the millennium," Blatt said. "I was in practice this morning, and in the middle of the practice, someone let out a shriek -- and I understood it wasn't because of the weather, and realized that something special has happened."
Blatt spent the past two decades overseas as a coach in Israel. He met James twice -- at the Olympics in 2008 and again in 2012.
"I did not see this coming down the road," Blatt said. "And I'll be honest with you, it was not a condition. Good things come to those who wait."
Blatt had the chance to coach No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins for the first time in a summer league game Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks and No. 2 selection Jabari Parker. There is widespread speculation that Wiggins might be part of a possible trade to bring forward Kevin Love to the Cavs from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
James did not mention Wiggins in his essay in Sports Illustrated announcing his move back to Cleveland. Blatt sounded as though he was preparing to coach both James and Wiggins.
"I think it's one of the best things that could happen to (Wiggins)," Blatt said. "To have the opportunity to learn from a guy with his experience level, whose winning attitude, whose commitment to the game ... he couldn't possibly in his wildest dreams have a better example or a better teammate and it will help him to develop quicker."
Blatt, known as an offensive specialist, avoided discussing how he would handle coaching James.
"I really don't want to talk in too much detail right now. It's not appropriate," Blatt said. "I do want to say that to have the opportunity to coach the best player in the world is a blessing I would wish for everyone. And I know that because of the type of player he is and the type of man he is, our team will be better for it in every respect."
Back in Cleveland, the phones were ringing off the hook in the team offices not long after James' plans became known. The Cavs diverted phone lines not normally used for tickets to take orders.
The Cavs didn't immediately attempt to capitalize on their good fortune, keeping season ticket prices the same as before it was known that James was coming back.
But demand to see The King in action will no doubt go through the roof as the season draws closer in the fall.