Cavs’ Altman: “I Don’t See Sweeping Changes” In Offseason

Speaking to the media on Friday, Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman discussed the team’s dismissal of J.B. Bickerstaff, the process of hiring a new head coach, and Donovan Mitchell‘s future, among other topics.

While rumors have circulated that the Cavs may explore shaking up their core four of Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, Altman says he doesn’t envision major changes on the horizon, according to Chris Fedor of (subscription required).

I don’t see big major sweeping changes. I just don’t,” Altman said. “Like I said, more data speaks to [how] this works than it doesn’t. You can’t win 99 games over the regular season, make it to a conference semis and be like, ‘This doesn’t work.’ Again, this is just year two of this iteration of this core being together and I have a lot of excitement for the future for this group and belief in this group. The other piece that the outside doesn’t see is you meet with every player and they have a really strong belief in the core of the group and their fellow teammates. They think they can win here. There’s a lot of camaraderie and belief and they like each other and so it’s hard for me to glean anything other than how do we pour more into the group that we have?

Sure, there’s some moves you can make around the periphery, but what are the levers we can pull? What can we tighten up? Where’s our upside? Where’s the low hanging fruit in-house to elevate this thing? … There’s a lot more in-house than I need to find out outside of this building. There’s a lot of belief in our players and each other in this organization, and so I don’t see the need to make sweeping changes.”

Here’s more from Altman’s media session:

  • While Atlman praised Bickerstaff and called it a “tremendously difficult decision” to fire him, he said the team needs a new leader to take it where it wants to go. “Someone with a new approach, someone with a different voice, a fresh set of eyes to help us move forward,” Altman said, per Tom Withers of The Associated Press. “We’ve accomplished a lot in the last few years, getting to a conference semifinal, and we don’t want to be complacent. … We feel we’re not far off.”
  • According to Withers, Altman said he hasn’t compiled a list of coaching candidates yet, and the front office won’t begin that process until next week. However, he did say the new coach would have to meet “very highly specific” criteria. Altman added that the search could last over a month, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. We’d love to have a coach in place for the draft,” he said. “I think that’d probably be too aggressive a timeline. It’s when we come up with the right decision…and if it has to drag on a little longer, it does.”
  • Altman said owner Dan Gilbert could end up having a “big influence” on whichever coach gets hired, but he won’t be involved in the process until the front office has compiled its list of finalists, per Fedor.
  • Regarding Mitchell, who will be eligible for a four-year extension this summer, Altman said his exit meeting with the star guard left him feeling encouraged, according to Fedor. “I’ll say that my exit interview with him was really good in that he was talking about the future and how excited he was about the team, the organization,” Altman said. “This is a player that has had two of the best years of his career here, has had a lot of success here, understands the infrastructure. I think he has a lot of trust in what we’re doing and understands that our goal is to win a championship. … From his own words, he says he’s happy here. He likes it here. He’s always been very genuine. He’s always been very intentional. He’s been a great teammate. We have to take all that at face value and say, ‘OK, we feel good about where we are with Donovan.’ Obviously, things could change. In terms of his contract future, it’s nothing we can talk about until July.”
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