Koby Altman

Cavaliers Notes: Irving, Altman, Future

Kyrie Irving posted a double-double with 22 points and 10 assists in Tuesday’s season opener against his former team, the Cavaliers. However, before playing his first game in Celtics green — against the Cavaliers on the road no less — Irving refused to give a straightforward answer on why he demanded a trade, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes.

“I kind of want to put that to rest in terms of everyone figuring out or trying to continue to dive into a narrative they have no idea about and probably will never, ever be divulged because it’s not important,” Irving said. “This was literally just a decision I wanted to make solely based on my happiness and pushing my career forward. I don’t want to pinpoint anything. I will never pinpoint anything because that’s not what real grown-ups do. They continue to move on with their life and continue to progress and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

Irving, 25, has avoided divulging specifics about his trade demand. Instead, he has reiterated his desire to evolve as a basketball player and be happy. Many have wondered why Irving wanted to leave a team that he helped lead to three straight NBA Finals along with LeBron James. But if Tuesday’s season-opener was any indication, Irving’s motives will remain private.

Read more notes surrounding the Cavaliers below:

  • ESPN’s Kevin Pelton examines the trade that sent Irving to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae CrowderAnte Zizic and rights to the Nets’ 2018 first-round draft pick. After a thorough examination, Pelton determined that Cleveland won the deal due to the team “improving their depth this season in obtaining an All-Star guard — assuming Thomas returns close to last season’s performance — and a high-level role player in Crowder.”
  • Cavaliers’ general manager Koby Altman joined Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon to discuss his real estate background, how that job prepared him for NBA GM and working for former GM David Griffin.
  • Earlier today, we passed along some noteworthy comments from both James and Dwyane Wade.

Central Notes: Wade, Bucks, Antetokounmpo

Speculation that Dwyane Wade could become a free agent this offseason hit a new level this week when the Bulls guard said that he’d be willing to sit down and chat about his future with the organization. If he were to be bought out in order to pursue a role elsewhere, what sort of impact could he reasonably expect to make? Frank Urbina of HoopsHype decided to take a look.

The two teams most often linked to Wade have been the Cavaliers and the Heat. A move to Cleveland would pair Wade with former teammate LeBron James while Miami is, of course, the place he spent the first 13 seasons of his career. Urbina, however, argues that the 35-year-old could have more suitors than just that and could end up being a game-changing reserve for a team’s second-unit if he parts ways with the Bulls.

In a comprehensive look at the type of value Wade is still capable of providing in the twilight of his career, Urbina writes that the Bulls vet has carved out a few reliable offensive moves that have helped him remain competitive despite dwindling athleticism, including an impressive post-up game and a potent fadeaway jumper.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Shortly after the news of Kyrie Irving‘s trade request broke, Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman was formally offered his position. His first order of business, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe writes, was to gauge if the point guard was serious. “I think we were in information-collecting mode when stuff first broke,” Altman said. “We had numerous teams call about it.
  • The Bucks have seen their season ticket numbers rise this summer on the heels of a solid 2016/17 and the looming benefits of a new venue. James Nelson of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that the franchise is selling multi-year packs that will give fans the chance to watch the team in the BMO Harris Bradley Center this season and the team’s yet-to-be-named new facility in 2018/19.
  • Ever wonder just how much of a physical advantage Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has over some of his opponents? A post on Reddit demonstrates just how big the 22-year-old’s hands really are.

Cavs Notes: Irving Trade, LeBron, Crowder, IT

The Cavaliers and Celtics were able to complete the Kyrie Irving trade before Thursday morning’s deadline after Boston agreed to send an additional pick to Cleveland. While Boston did well to draw the line at a future second-round pick, it’s not a great look for the Cavs, who let the saga play out very publicly for more than a week before settling for a 2020 selection that may not even fall in the top 45.

Although the move represents the first major trade completed by new Cavs GM Koby Altman, it was team owner Dan Gilbert who was calling the shots on the deal, multiple sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who says that Gilbert’s “fingerprints were all over” this week’s drama. The Cavs owner, who publicly questioned the Pacers for their return in the Paul George deal, was very aware of the public perception of the Cavs’ return for Irving, O’Connor adds.

According to O’Connor, the Nets‘ first-round pick and Jae Crowder were the assets the Cavs management valued most in the swap, but LeBron James and head coach Tyronn Lue cooled somewhat on the trade when they learned that Isaiah Thomas could miss part of the 2017/18 season. The front office had sold James and Lue on the deal by making the case that Thomas and Crowder could help the club contend immediately, so Thomas’ health was a major concern, even if he wasn’t necessarily the centerpiece of the deal.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • While O’Connor suggests in his piece that the Cavs are preparing for the possibility of LeBron signing elsewhere in 2018, we can count Kevin Durant among those who don’t believe the King will leave Cleveland again. As Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com details, Durant told Bill Simmons on his podcast this week that he can see James remaining with the Cavs for the rest of his career.
  • With the Irving deal done, former Cavs GM David Griffin, who was replaced this offseason by Altman, can envision the Cavs making another move before the trade deadline, as he said on NBA TV (h/t Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com). “One of the real blessings of this is Koby and his team don’t need to be done (trading) at this point,” Griffin said. “They can continue to try to build the team. The value-to-production of Jae Crowder and his contract are incredible. As you move closer to the trade deadline, the assets they’ve acquired may be able to be put to work again in continuing to improve the team. I think they clearly wanted to get some sustainability so that lottery pick was really important because in the absence of LeBron that’s the piece that helps them rebuild rather quickly.”
  • Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com takes a closer look at where the Cavs stand now that the Irving era is officially over in Cleveland, and wonders whether the deal will end up helping or hurting the club’s quest for a second title in the last three years.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Cavaliers Hire Koby Altman As GM

The Cavaliers have named Koby Altman their new GM, according to the team’s website.

Altman, who spent the last five seasons with the franchise, was promoted to Assistant GM in September of 2016. He’s been serving as the interim GM since the team parted with David Griffin.

“Over the past month, Koby Altman has led our front office group through this transition period, impressing many inside the franchise and outside the organization, as well,” Owner Dan Gilbert said. “We are very excited that he will now be officially leading the basketball side of our franchise. Koby has the credentials, knowledge, experience and instincts to be an outstanding General Manager.

“In addition to these positive attributes and outstanding relationships around the league, Koby will inspire and impact the best possible culture throughout the organization. We are going to see a capable and passionate leader who will also cultivate new ideas and innovation. The speed of the game is ever faster on the court and in the front offices around our league. I am confident that Koby is equipped and prepared to lead and succeed in this dynamic environment.”

Gilbert added that other front office moves are expected to take place. “We are looking forward to announcing additional restructuring involving these remarkable executives in the very near future,” said Gilbert.

Altman has his work cut out for him in Cleveland. Kyrie Irving recently requested a trade and as Austin Kent of Hoops Rumors noted, the organization may have helped itself in trade negotiations by legitimizing Altman’s role.

Cavs To Name Koby Altman General Manager

5:53pm: There’s more out of Cleveland’s front office. Per Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, the Cavs have parted ways with cap expert Tony Leotti and are expected to name Mike Gansey their new assistant general manager. Gansey was previously the GM of Cleveland’s G League affiliate.

4:08pm: The Cavaliers will be promoting Koby Altman to general manager, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. After extensive talks, the decision to promote the current assistant general manager is “imminent.”

Earlier this month we speculated that such a move could be in the cards considering that Altman had met with Dan Gilbert to discuss the future of the franchise’s front office.

Already this summer, Cleveland has parted ways with David Griffin and seen an interest in appointing Chauncey Billups to the position fizzle. Throughout the process, Altman has performed the duties of general manager, no small task considering the offseason that has unfolded.

The news of Altman’s impending promotion comes in the midst of commotion that star point guard Kyrie Irving has requested a trade out of Cleveland. Legitimizing Altman’s role as the chief negotiator in such circumstances could help the organization maximize its return.

Central Rumors: Pistons, Cavs, Bulls, Mirotic

The Pistons are considering free agents like Jonas Jerebko and Anthony Tolliver for one of their open roster spots, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). Ellis adds that the team has also engaged with a handful of other players as it weighs how to fill that spot.

Having traded away Marcus Morris and lost Aron Baynes in free agency, the Pistons could use some frontcourt depth, but their ability to add another free agent is somewhat limited. Having already used their full mid-level exception, Detroit could make an offer with its $3.29MM bi-annual exception, but otherwise could only offer the minimum.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert met with assistant GM Koby Altman for dinner on Monday night to discuss the future of the club’s front office, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). After losing David Griffin, the Cavs pursued Chauncey Billups to fill their head front office position, but haven’t been linked to any candidates since Billups turned them down. It’s possible Altman – who has essentially been the acting GM this offseason – will be offered the permanent job at some point, though that’s my speculation.
  • The Bulls remain optimistic about getting a deal done with restricted free agent Nikola Mirotic, per GM Gar Forman (link via Sam Smith of Bulls.com). “We want Niko back and we think Niko wants to be in Chicago,” Forman said. “Usually when you have those two things, at the end of the day there’s usually a way to get something done.”
  • Forman also discussed the Bulls‘ rebuilding process, expressing no regrets at moving Jimmy Butler last month, per Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.
  • The Bulls continue to operate as an over-the-cap team, having signed Justin Holiday to a deal using part of their mid-level exception ($4.6MM of $8.4MM), tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Chicago could create between $25-30MM in cap room by renouncing Mirotic’s cap hold and various exceptions – including the trade exception from the Butler deal – but there has been no reason to do that so far, since the club hasn’t made any big-money acquisitions.
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