Koby Altman

Central Notes: Altman, B. Brown, Pacers, Cunningham

The attorney for Koby Altman submitted a plea of not guilty on his behalf on Tuesday after the Cavaliers president of basketball operations was charged with committing a marked lanes violation and operating a vehicle while impaired, per TMZ Sports.

Police video obtained by TMZ and News 5 Cleveland (YouTube link) showed Altman appearing to struggle to complete a series of field sobriety tests after being pulled over in Cleveland on Friday night. The Cavaliers executive told officers that he was “exhausted” after returning from a trip overseas and was driving home after a long dinner.

The Cavaliers, who initially issued a brief statement announcing that they were gathering information on the incident, have put out a follow-up statement, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter links).

“We hold our team members to a high standard of conduct and expect leaders at every level of our organization to represent the Cavaliers with integrity, professionalism and accountability,” the Cavs said. We will continue to closely monitor the facts and circumstances of this matter and await resolution of the legal process.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • In a discussion about the best offseason move made by a Central Division team, Josh Robbins and James L. Edwards III of The Athletic both pick the Pacers‘ signing of Bruce Brown, while their colleague Darnell Mayberry chooses the Pistons‘ hiring of Monty Williams as their new head coach.
  • Within the same story, Edwards, Robbins, and Mayberry identify Pistons guard Cade Cunningham and Pacers forward Obi Toppin and Jarace Walker as some of the top breakout candidates in the Central.
  • The majority of the Pacers‘ players were in attendance for Summer League in Las Vegas, signaling the team’s growing chemistry and a culture that’s on the right trajectory, contends Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (subscription required).

Cavaliers Executive Koby Altman Charged With OVI

Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman was arrested and charged Friday night for operating a vehicle while impaired, according to a report from FOX 8’s I-Team.

We are aware of an incident involving Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman,” the team said in a statement, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). “We are currently gathering more information and have no further comment at this time.

According to the FOX 8 report, Ohio State Highway Patrol says troopers stopped Altman just before 9:00 p.m.

Troopers initiated a traffic stop and during their interaction with the driver, indicators of impairment were observed,” the patrol said, per FOX 8. “The driver was subsequently placed under arrest for OVI and soon after offered a breath test which he refused.”

Altman was also charged with committing a marked lanes violation, per the report. FOX 8 reports the patrol added that Altman was “respectful and cooperative with troopers.”

Altman joined Cleveland’s front office in 2012, working his way up through the organization before being named general manager in 2017. In 2022, Altman was promoted to president of basketball operations and signed a contract extension through the 2027/28 season.

Kings’ Monte McNair Named Executive Of The Year

Having constructed the roster that snapped a record-setting 16-year playoff drought, Kings general manager Monte McNair has been named the NBA’s Executive of the Year for the 2022/23 season, the league announced today.

McNair, who controversially sent ascendant guard Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana in a blockbuster deal for Domantas Sabonis at last season’s trade deadline, supplemented the star duo of Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox this past offseason by drafting Keegan Murray, signing Malik Monk, and trading for Kevin Huerter.

Perhaps most importantly, McNair hired Mike Brown as the Kings’ new head coach after parting ways with Alvin Gentry. Brown won Coach of the Year honors after leading Sacramento to a 48-34 record and its first postseason berth since 2006.

Unlike most of the NBA’s other major postseason awards, the Executive of the Year is voted on by the league’s 30 general managers instead of 100 media members.

McNair received 16 first-place votes and showed up on 24 ballots, earning 98 total points. He beat out runner-up Koby Altman of the Cavaliers, who got seven first-place votes and was included on 21 ballots, finishing with 63 total points.

No other executive received more than two first-place votes or 20 total points. Jazz GM Justin Zanik, Nuggets GM Calvin Booth, and Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens rounded out the top five vote-getters, while sixth-place finisher Bucks general manager Jon Horst joined Stevens as the other executives who received two first-place votes. Nine additional execs received at least one vote.

Cavaliers Won’t Consider Replacing J.B. Bickerstaff

The Cavaliers‘ moves this summer won’t include a coaching change, writes Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Speaking to reporters on Friday, president of basketball operations Koby Altman quashed any rumors that the team might consider replacing head coach J.B. Bickerstaff following a first-round playoff exit.

“Yes. Absolutely,” Altman replied when asked if the organization remains committed to Bickerstaff. “There’s no question about that. I mean, look what he’s accomplished. It’s actually funny, I’ve not heard that, maybe because I haven’t been reading or not on Twitter, but I’ve not heard that noise. So that’s not even a question. […] End that speculation.”

Bickerstaff led the Cavaliers to a fourth-place finish in the East, and their 51 wins were the most since LeBron James left for Los Angeles in 2018. Altman said he worked with Bickerstaff on exit interviews this week, giving advice to players on how to improve during the offseason. He also credited Bickerstaff with building a culture in the post-LeBron era.

“You can’t fluke your way into 51 wins,” Altman said. “You can’t fluke your way into the No. 1 defensive rating in the NBA. That’s coaching. I know we have great defensive personnel, but you have to have buy-in from them, and that comes from the head coach. And so we’re extremely happy with J.B. and the job he’s done.”

Altman addressed several other topics in his session with the media:

  • The Cavaliers won’t panic after their short playoff run, and Altman said fans shouldn’t expect “sweeping changes” this summer, Russo adds. Many of the team’s rotation players were in the playoffs for the first time, and Altman believes the organization can build on that experience. “I also think the strength of our roster is the fact that we’re positioned really well for the future with the guys that are most important under contract,” he said. “… We have to look at what’s the piece that we really want to improve and enhance and then use the vehicle that we have to go do that.”
  • Re-signing free agent forward Caris LeVert will be an offseason priority, Altman said. Russo notes that LeVert’s role with the team changed after Donovan Mitchell was acquired last summer, and he evolved into a sixth man and secondary playmaker as the season progressed. “He’s a big part of our attack,” Altman said, “and it’s a big reason why, at the deadline, I didn’t do anything because he was a big part of what we were doing and I didn’t want to lose that. So we’d be fortunate to have him back.”
  • Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley were outplayed during the Knicks’ series, but there’s no thought of splitting up the big man duo, Altman adds. Allen is signed for three more years at $20MM annually, and Mobley is still on his rookie contract. “When you have the level of success that you’ve had with those two, it’s really hard to say, ‘Oh let’s just break them up based off one playoff series,’” Altman stated.

Cavaliers’ Altman Talks Season, Sexton, LeVert, Lottery Pick

The Cavaliers‘ first winning season since 2018 ended in disappointing fashion with two play-in tournament losses. The club finished 2021/22 with a 44-38 record, the eighth best in the East, but was defeated by the Nets and Hawks in successive play-in contests after being hit with the injury bug. Another bright spot this year: two Cavaliers players, point guard Darius Garland and center Jarrett Allen, made their All-Star debuts.

On Tuesday, team president Koby Altman sat down with reporters for an extensive end-of-season press conference. Kelsey Russo of The Athletic captured Altman’s comments in an excellent article.

Altman discussed his feelings regarding a disappointing conclusion to what had been an exciting year for the Cavaliers. “I’m still a little heartsick, to be honest with you,” he admitted. “It’s hard to process the season ending the way it did and that we’re not still playing, but such a remarkable year for so many reasons. A long runway ahead of exciting basketball. So, we’re excited, really excited for the future obviously, and the work continues.”

Here’s more from Altman’s media session:

  • Guard Collin Sexton, a restricted free agent this summer, was enjoying a solid start to the year before being sidelined with a season-ending meniscus injury just 11 games into 2021/22. The emergence of Garland may have made Sexton a luxury for the Cavaliers, depending on his sticker price. “He, in a lot of ways, was the start of not only the rebuild, but the culture that we have in place now,” Altman said of Sexton. “To lose him [with the knee injury], you can see throughout the year why we missed him or how we missed him. So, we owe Collin a great debt of gratitude for what he’s done, the work he’s put in and he continues to put in. An important part of his team.”
  • Trade deadline addition Caris LeVert battled injuries during his brief tenure with Cleveland. The wing has one season left on his current deal, and could be extended by the Cavaliers. “Caris, he got unfortunately derailed right after All-Star break,” Altman said. “He was coming to a place that had enormous success already, that had roles, defined roles, guys that are having a lot of success, All-Star seasons. To try to fit in was not easy. It wouldn’t be easy for anybody. But I love what Caris brought to the table — his competitive fire, he defended; he fit right in.”
  • Because Cleveland missed the playoffs following its play-in losses, the club will retain the 2022 lottery pick it acquired in its trade for LeVert. “I think we’ve done an incredible job through the draft, and taking a step back now and looking at the [upcoming] draft, I like the draft,” Altman said. “I’m not just saying that. Where our pick lands, can we get another … there’s nothing wrong with having another young player that you can develop.” Russo adds that Cleveland also possesses two second-round selections.

Cavs Willing To Deal This Year’s First-Rounder, Rubio’s Contract

The Cavaliers are willing to deal this year’s first-round pick and might also move Ricky Rubio‘s contract in order to acquire another guard or wing, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Cleveland has been the league’s biggest surprise, piling up victories despite losing Collin Sexton and Rubio to season-ending injuries. The Cavaliers have won eight of their last nine games and are 11 games above .500.

This week, the Cavaliers were granted an $8.9MM Disabled Player Exception — half of Rubio’s salary — due to the torn ACL he suffered last month. That exception would be nullified if they traded Rubio before using it. Rubio will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Cleveland owns all of its first-round picks and has eight extra second-rounders at its disposal, including a pair this season, while only owing two second-rounders to other clubs. The team also has a $4.3MM trade exception at its disposal.

But as Fedor notes, the team is approximately $3MM below the luxury tax threshold and also doesn’t want to wreck the chemistry it has built. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said those factors will come into play regarding any moves president of basketball operations Koby Altman might make.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations about that,” Bickerstaff said. “We know how fragile chemistry is and how quickly it can be bothered. This is a very important time for our team, an opportunity — if they’re there — to improve itself, but also an opportunity to not feel rushed to do something that could impact the chemistry we’ve built. Our front office has a heavy understanding of how important that is. They are aggressive to improve this team. They do a lot of homework and understand the type of people you’re going to bring in if you do decide to make a move. We do have something good brewing here with the group. Definitely don’t want to do something that negatively impacts it.”

Cavaliers Extending Koby Altman Through 2027/28

Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman has signed a contract extension through the 2027/28 NBA season and will get a new title in the process to boot, becoming Cleveland’s president of basketball operations, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.

Woj notes that the 23-18 Cavaliers have already surpassed their total win total from 2020/21, when they went 22-50. All of the team’s top young players – guard Darius Garland, power forward Evan Mobley, and center Jarrett Allen – were added under Altman’s stewardship. The Cavs GM also hired head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who recently inked a long-term extension of his own that could keep him with Cleveland through the 2026/27 season. Woj adds that Altman has emerged as a serious Executive of the Year award candidate thanks to the team’s exciting run thus far.

Altman also sagely traded for veteran point guard Ricky Rubio during the 2021 offseason. The 6’2″ veteran proved to be a key ball-handler and perimeter defender for Cleveland before going down for the season with an ACL tear.

Currently the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, Cleveland is without Rubio and fellow guard Collin Sexton for the rest of the season. The team has responded by adding veteran Rajon Rondo and new two-way guard Brandon Goodwin. The Cavaliers have the assets to make a splashier move for backcourt help at the trade deadline.

Altman has led the Cavs’ basketball operations since the 2017 offseason. The 39-year-old first joined the organization’s front office brain trust in 2012 under GM Chris Grant. Altman stuck around after David Griffin was elevated to the role of general manager in 2014, serving as director of pro personnel for Cleveland’s 2016 championship team, and saw his role elevated to assistant GM for the 2016/17 season. During his first season as GM, Altman oversaw roster construction for the final (for now) Cleveland team to reach the NBA Finals with LeBron James in 2018.

Eastern Notes: Mobley, Gores, Wizards, Bonner

The Cavaliers fielded calls for over a month regarding the No. 3 pick in the draft. However the team’s brass was more excited about adding a rookie with a very high ceiling than reconstructing the roster, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. The Cavs selected USC big man Evan Mobley with the pick. “We were able to draft a transformative talent, whose versatility, athleticism and physical gifts are qualities we covet in a player. Evan Mobley checks each of those boxes,” GM Koby Altman said.

We have more from the Eastern Conference

  • Pistons owner Tom Gores calls top pick Cade Cunningham a natural leader and feels giddy about the team’s future, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com“I’ve never felt better,” Gores said. “I woke up this morning and felt like we won already. We haven’t won a game yet. We felt like we won. I feel excited about where we’re at, but I also know through my life experiences we’ve got to go to work. We’ve got a great foundation.”
  • Zach Guthrie and Mike Miller will be part of Wes Unseld Jr.‘s staff with the Wizards, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweets. Guthrie worked under Rick Carlisle in Dallas last season, while Miller is the former coach of the G League’s Westchester Knicks. Former Magic assistant Pat Delany had already agreed to join the Wizards.
  • Becky Bonner is expected to be a bench coach on Jamahl Mosley‘s Magic staff, Fischer adds in another tweet. She’s already the team’s Director of Player Development and Quality Control. Nate Tibbetts, Dale Osbourne and Kaleb Canales are expected to be on the front of Orlando’s bench assisting Mosley, according to Fischer (Twitter link).

Central Notes: Altman, Pacers, Forbes, Draft

The 2021 Cavaliers offseason could include front office changes, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Current GM Koby Altman has been leading the front office since the 2017 offseason.

Fedor reflects that former Cavs general manager Danny Ferry enjoyed the lengthiest run (five years) in power for Cleveland since Dan Gilbert became the team’s majority owner. Alhough the team remains in the midst of a multi-year rebuild, there is a chance that Gilbert’s impatience compels him to make a change and let Altman go, following a 22-50 season, Fedor notes.

Fedor also mentions that Knicks executive Brock Aller, who kicked off his NBA career as Gilbert’s personal assistant before moving up the ranks in the Cavaliers’ front office, could be a potential replacement for Altman. Fedor adds, however, that Aller recently sold his Ohio home, an indication that the exec expects to remain with the Knicks for the immediate future.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Though current Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren may not be long for Indiana, Bob Kravitz of The Athletic predicts that Indiana’s front office will not be making many significant changes to the team’s on-court personnel. Key players T.J. Warren, Caris LeVert, Jeremy Lamb, Malcolm Brogdon, and Myles Turner all missed significant time for Indiana this season. Kravtiz anticipates that team president Kevin Pritchard will want to assess what a healthy iteration of this lineup looks like before making major moves.
  • Bucks reserve shooting guard Bryn Forbes proved his value with a stellar shooting night in the second game of Milwaukee’s first round matchup against the Heat, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Forbes scored 22 points and connected on six of his nine long-range attempts. Forbes has a $2.45MM player option for the 2021/22 NBA season, and may command a raise on the open market should he opt out of his current deal.
  • The Pacers are returning to the NBA draft lottery for the first time in six seasons. Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files examines the team’s (slight) odds at landing a top-four pick this season. Ahead of the lottery, the Pacers possess the No. 13 pick in the 2021 draft, with a 1% chance of landing the top pick.

Goodwill’s Latest: Brogdon, Blazers, McGee, Heat, Oubre, More

Multiple teams have indicated that the Pacers are open to listening to pitches on Malcolm Brogdon, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Brogdon is only in the second season of a four-year, $85MM contract, but Goodwill suggests that Indiana is comfortable with the idea of Caris LeVert manning the point if the team gets a deal it likes for Brogdon.

In addition to Brogdon, another Pacers point guard – Aaron Holiday – is thought to be available. A report last week indicated Indiana was seeking a first-round pick for Holiday, which Goodwill confirms. According to Goodwill, Holiday seems to have “fallen out of favor” somewhat in Indiana.

Here’s more from Goodwill:

  • The Trail Blazers are among the teams with interest in Cavaliers center JaVale McGee, per Goodwill. McGee could be had via trade — it remains to be seen whether he and Cleveland would work out a buyout if he stays put at the deadline.
  • The Nets are dangling Spencer Dinwiddie and a second-round pick as they look to bolster their bench, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Brooklyn has discussed players like Avery Bradley, Kendrick Nunn, and Maurice Harkless with the Heat, Goodwill says.
  • Kelly Oubre‘s camp believes the Warriors forward is capable of getting a “top-10 deal” in free agency this offseason, per Goodwill. Presumably, that means one of the top 10 most valuable free agent contracts signed this summer.
  • Goodwill suggests that former Cavaliers executive Brock Aller – who is now the Knicks‘ VP of strategy – is worth keeping an eye on in the event that Cleveland moves on from current general manager Koby Altman at some point. Aller has a long-standing relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, Goodwill notes.