The Cleveland Cavaliers have hired Luke Walton as an Assistant Coach, the team announced Tuesday.
The 42-year-old Walton coached the Kings for three seasons before getting fired last November. Before that, he was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers from 2016 to 2019.
“We are very excited to add someone of Luke’s caliber and championship DNA to our coaching staff,” said Altman via team statement. “His on-court experiences as a head coach, assistant coach and player in this league fit seamlessly into J.B.’s existing coaching staff. Luke is someone who truly embraces player development, a team-first mentality, and a history of creating winning basketball habits. We welcome Luke, his wife Bre and the entire Walton family back to Northeast Ohio.”
Additionally, Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors for two campaigns (2014-15, 2015-16), reaching the NBA Finals both years and winning the NBA Championship in 2015. Walton also received Western Conference Coach of the Month honors (October/November 2015) while serving as interim head coach in Steve Kerr’s absence and leading Golden State to a 39-4 start in 2015-16, including winning the first 24 games, an NBA record.
“It’s rare when you can strengthen your staff with someone of similar experiences and a passion for the game of basketball,” said Bickerstaff said via team statement. “Luke is someone who identifies with our five core values as a coach, but also traits he was recognized for as a player, both in college and the NBA. I’m excited for our players to have another valuable resource to work with on the court, as we continue doing things the right way for sustainable success.”
Walton enjoyed a 10-year NBA playing career, including his final season in 2012-13 and part of 2011-12 as a member of the Cavaliers. He finished his career appearing in 564 games (138 starts) with the Lakers and Cavaliers while averaging 4.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 17.2 minutes per contest.
On Tuesday, Cleveland Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman addressed the media at Cleveland Clinic Courts. The Cavs’ season ended at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Friday night as they fell to the Hawks in the Play-In Tournament.
“I’m still a little heartsick, to be honest with you,” Altman said about not making the playoffs. “It’s hard to process the season ending the way it did.”
J.B. Bickerstaff helped Cleveland improve by 22 wins from a year ago and finished the season 44-38, but despite the success, they fell short of the playoffs.
However, according to Atman, the Cavs have caught the attention of teams around the league.
“They captivated the city and put the league on notice, forced the league to put us on a national TV game because they had to, and more of that will come.”
Altman felt this season was a success, but Cleveland does have some questions, and one of the biggest questions is what will happen with Collin Sexton, who missed 71 games with a torn meniscus and can become a restricted free agent at season’s end if the Cavs extend a qualifying offer of $7.2 million.
The 23-year-old Sexton will probably be back in Cleveland next season based on what Altman said today.
“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. “He’s enormously important to us. He’s been enormously important to us. To lose him, you can see throughout the year why we missed him, how we missed him, so we owe Collin a great deal of gratitude for the work he’s put in and continues to put in, (he) an important part of this team.”
Caris LeVert came over from the Pacers in a trade back in February. Altman believes both LeVert and Sexton, who have a similar skillset and play the same position, can thrive together in Cleveland.
“Yes, there’s a place for that level of talent, especially with the character that they bring and the fact that both really love it here,” Altman said.
It’s one thing to be a surprise team, but it’s another thing to win when the expectations are high, so the challenge for Altman and the players is to be even better next season.
“We’re not going to surprise teams next year,” Altman said. “I think we were two games out of being in sixth place. So like, it’s that close. We don’t want to lose grasp of what got us here, which is the hard work in the summer. We haven’t accomplished anything yet, so how do we keep that hunger, that humbleness, and attack this offseason?”
From top to bottom, the Eastern Conference will be tough next season, and Cleveland could be better next season and still be fighting to make the playoffs. They have a young, talented core.Obviously, they have three guys they can build around in All-Stars, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley.
In addition, they will have a lottery pick, so the future is very bright. However, sometimes that next step is the hardest step, and the Cavs are hoping to take that next step next season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers promoted Assistant General Manager Mike Gansey to General Manager, the team announced Wednesday.
According to the Cavs, Gansey, who became Assistant General Manager in 2017, will continue assisting Altman in scouting and personnel decisions while increasing his role in the Cavaliers’ draft preparations and logistics.
In January, Altman was given an extension and promoted from GM to President of Basketball Operations.
“Mike has been an incredible resource to me, and this organization and his work behind the scenes gives me great confidence that he is ready to take on more of a leadership role,” Altman said via a statement from the team. “His community roots provides a unique perspective when evaluating players and the type of commitment needed to make a positive impact in Cleveland. I could not think of a better person to work alongside as we continue building this team toward sustainable success.”
The 39-year-old Gansey has been part of the Cavaliers organization since 2011. Before his role as assistant GM, he was previously General Manager for the Cleveland Charge, the Cavaliers’ exclusively-owned NBA G League team, where he earned the 2016-17 NBA G League Executive of the Year award.
In addition to Gansey, the team announced the promotion of Brandon Weems, who was LeBron James high school teammate, to Assistant General Manager from his previous title as Sr. Director of Player Personnel.
Also, Jason Hillman was promoted to Vice President of Basketball Operations from his previous title as Basketball Chief of Staff/Team Counsel, and Jon Nichols to Vice President of Basketball Strategy and Personnel from his previous title of Sr. Director of Strategy & Research.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and GM Koby Altman have agreed on a new long-term contract extension, the team announced Wednesday.
Altman, 39, will also take on the title of President of Basketball Operations effective immediately.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the extension runs through the 2027-2028 season.
Last month, the Cavaliers signed head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to a multi-year extension that will reportedly run through the 2026-2027 season, and now they’ve locked up Altman.
Cleveland (23-18) is off to a great start, and with lottery picks Darius Garland (No. 5 in 2019) and Evan Mobley (No. 3 in 2021), Altman has built a solid young core. In addition, Altman, who was named Cavs general manager in 2017, acquired 23-year-old center Jarrett Allen, who is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and field goal percentage, and signed him to a five-year contract extension this past offseason. Altman also traded for NBA veteransRicky Rubio and 24-year-old Lauri Markkanen.
Altman has the Cavs going in the right direction post-LeBron James, and it appears this team has the potential to do big things going forward.
“I will forever be grateful for this continued opportunity. With Dan setting the example and providing us with amazing resources, we are building something truly special here in Northeast Ohio,” said Altman via a press release from the team. “We remain committed to our player development program, and our players have shown incredible growth and improvement this season. Our evolving culture is driven by our players, coaches, and staff, who all play a significant role in defining what it truly means to be a Cavalier, and we are very excited for our future.”
Before being named GM, Altman had been a part of the Cavaliers’ basketball staff for five years, including being promoted to assistant general manager in September 2016. As a member of Cleveland’s front office, Altman has been an integral part of a team that reached four straight NBA Finals (2015-2018) and won an NBA Championship in 2016.
Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff has signed a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Saturday.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the extension will keep him under contract through the 2026-2027 season.
This season, the 42-year-old Bickerstaff has led the Cavaliers to the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 19-13 and the franchise’s best 32-game start since 2017-18 (23-9). Cleveland has recorded 12 of their 19 victories against teams with a winning record, and their 14 wins by at least 10 points trails only Golden State (18) and Utah (17).
“J.B. Bickerstaff is, with all certainty, the right head coach to lead this franchise into what we believe is a very promising future,” said Cavs GM Koby Altman. “The decision to extend J.B. is not based solely on the early success of this season, but rather a body of work since his arrival to Cleveland.”
Cleveland has faced one of the NBA’s most demanding schedules, playing 25 of their 32 games against teams that made the playoffs or play-in tournament last season. Cleveland has had at least a 10-point lead in 24 contests and has registered three separate win streaks of at least four games this season, including a season-high six-game win streak.
Before coming to Cleveland, he was the Memphis Grizzlies head coach for the 2018-19 season; Bickerstaff was named head coach of the Cavaliers on February 19, 2020.
The Cleveland Cavaliers received the number three overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft as a result of the NBA Draft Lottery, which was conducted virtually on Tuesday night.
The 2021 NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, July 29th.
The Cavaliers’ 2021 lottery pick will mark the 22nd lottery pick the Cavs have owned all-time and their first time selecting third overall since the current lottery format was introduced in 1985.
This is considered a deep draft, and Cleveland, if they keep the pick, has a chance to get an excellent player.
“There’s some real game-changers at the top of this draft,” Cavs GM Koby Altman said after the lottery. “But it also puts us in a position to capitalize on different opportunities throughout the landscape of the NBA with this position.”
Altman also expects to get some calls from other teams about the third pick.
“We know what pick we have,” Altman said. “We know what calls we will probably get on it. We’ll figure out what we can potentially do with it.”
Coming into the lottery, Cleveland, who was in the fifth-place position, had an 11.5% chance of getting the number one pick, so they should be happy with three.
Now, what they do should be interesting. Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham is probably going number one to Detroit. You have the Rockets at two, and many mock drafts have them grabbing USC’s Evan Mobley, so that leaves G League Ignite’s Jalen Green, Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs, or maybe even a trade.
Cleveland has options. Do they continue to add young players, or do they try to trade for an established veteran? We’ll find out in a few weeks, but Altman’s phone will be getting many calls.
The full results of tonight’s Draft Lottery are as follows:
1. Detroit Pistons
2. Houston Rockets
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
4. Toronto Raptors
5. Orlando Magic
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
7. Golden State Warriors
8. Orlando Magic
9. Sacramento Kings
10. New Orleans Pelicans
11. Charlotte Hornets
12. San Antonio Spurs
13. Indiana Pacers
14. Golden State Warriors
Listen below as Altman reacts to getting the third pick in this year’s draft:
The Cleveland Cavaliers will need some luck to get the number one overall pick in this year’s draft.
The NBA Draft Lottery will be held virtually this year on Tuesday(8:30 pm, ESPN); Cleveland GM Koby Altman will represent the team.
The Cavaliers finished the 2020-21 season with a 22-50 record, tied with Oklahoma City for the fourth-place position entering the lottery. A random drawing was held on May 25 to determine the order of selection for NBA Draft 2021, with the Thunder winning the tiebreaker.
Cleveland enters the lottery with the fifth-best odds for the number one overall pick and will land no lower than the 9th pick.
The Cavaliers have won the NBA Draft Lottery five times since the lottery format was introduced in 1985 (Brad Daugherty, 1986; LeBron James, 2003; Kyrie Irving, 2011; Anthony Bennett, 2013; Andrew Wiggins, 2014). Overall, Cleveland has held the #1 overall draft pick six times (Austin Carr, 1971).
Former Cavs guard Kevin Porter Jr. was supposed to be one of the key pieces for Cleveland this season. The former 2019 first-round pick showed a lot of promise for the Cavs and averaged 10.0 points per game as a rookie. Cleveland hoped he would take that next step in Year two.
However, last November, Porter was arrested and charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle after he was involved in a car accident in Ohio. Ultimately, the charge was dismissed, and Porter plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Porter, who was away from the Cavs due to personal reasons to start the season, would finally join the team in January, but it was not for long.
According to The Athletic, Porter grew angry when he entered the locker room and realized the team gave his old locker to Taurean Prince, who was acquired in a trade Wednesday. Sources said Porter, whose locker was moved to the wall where the younger, end-of-bench players reside, began yelling and at one point threw food. General manager Koby Altman came into the locker room and confronted Porter, and the player remained combative with Altman.
The 21-year-old Porter would eventually be traded to the Rockets in late January for a second- round draft pick.
On Friday, Cavs GM Koby Altman discussed what happened with Porter in Cleveland.
“It was challenging; it was a very difficult decision that we had to make,” Altman said at an end of the year Zoom conference. “A lot of it I’m going to keep private. Obviously, I’m not going to go too deep into the weeds. It wasn’t for a lack of effort from both parties. We spent a lot of time, a lot of resources trying to make it work, trying to reingratiate him to the team…
“I think the change of scenery was needed for both parties. We wish him nothing but the best in Houston. I know him personally. We scouted him extensively. I knew some of the background when we took him, and it was a calculated risk, and it didn’t work out.”
Porter played well in Houston, including scoring a career-high 50 points against the Bucks in April. In 23 games with Houston, Porter averaged 16.7 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per contest. He seems to be a piece that the Rockets will build with next season.
It would have been nice to keep Porter in Cleveland, but it does appear the Cavaliers did everything in their power to make it work, and unfortunately, things did not go their way. However, if Porter continues to get better, he could be the one that got away.
Cavs assistant Lindsay Gottlieb is going back to the college game. Gottlieb will be the new head coach for the USC women’s basketball team, it was announced on Monday.
Gottlieb, 43, will finish out the season for Cleveland, which ends on Sunday night in Brooklyn against the Nets.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Gottlieb got a six-year deal at USC.
Gottlieb, who was hired as an assistant by then Cavs head coach John Beilein in 2019, was the first NCAA women’s head coach to be hired by an NBA team. Before coming to Cleveland, Gottlieb was the head women’s basketball coach at Cal. After Beilein’s departure, Gottlieb continued as an assistant under J.B Bickerstaff.
On Monday, both Gottlieb and Cavaliers GM Koby Altman released statements:
“I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve as an assistant coach with the Cavaliers for the last two years. This has truly been a basketball dream come true for me to work not only in the NBA, but hand-in-hand with this incredible coaching staff that has taught me so much. I’d especially like to thank Koby Altman and J.B. Bickerstaff for believing in me and providing an inclusive environment to enhance my coaching acumen. This is a very special group of players who have a tremendous amount of talent and work ethic, and it was an honor to work and develop relationships with them as well. The vision of this organization is what attracted me to Cleveland, and I look forward to seeing the continued development of this team and all that these guys can become in the future.”
“This was a very difficult decision and even tougher to say goodbye, but the opportunity at USC was something I could not let pass. What I see is a program steeped in tradition with a history of excellence and one of the nation’s strongest brands. I look forward to becoming part of that legacy and helping bring the Women of Troy back to national prominence.”
“Lindsay Gottlieb has been a tremendous asset to this organization since joining us two seasons ago, and I couldn’t be more excited for this incredible opportunity ahead of her at the University of Southern California. Lindsay brought an extensive coaching and culture-building background to Cleveland that fit seamlessly with the existing direction in place for this team. What really stands out about her time with the Cavaliers was how well she was able to communicate with our players, while demonstrating different perspectives on a daily basis that helped change the outlook of the game for many of our guys. We were fortunate that she was willing to leave her position at Cal to join us, and we are not surprised that she has remained a sought after Head Coach at the highest level of women’s college basketball. Lindsay will always be part of the Cavaliers family and we wish her, along with her husband Patrick and son Jordan, the very best as they embark on this new journey back in California and at USC.”