Cavs’ Altman on extension: ‘I will forever be grateful for this continued opportunity’

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. 

Cavs’ Altman: ‘Bickerstaff is, with all certainty, the right head coach to lead this franchise’

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.

Cavs’ Altman: ‘There’s some real game-changers at the top of this draft’

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:

Cavs GM Altman to represent team at NBA Draft Lottery

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).

Cavs’ Altman on Porter Jr.: ‘I think the change of scenery was needed for both parties’

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’ Lindsay Gottlieb headed to USC

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:

Gottlieb:

“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.”

Altman:

“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.”

Cavs’ Altman: ‘We are excited about the depth of this year’s draft class’

The Cleveland Cavaliers tonight received the number five overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft which was conducted virtually and aired live on ESPN. The 2020 NBA Draft will be held on Friday, October 16. 

Cleveland finished the 2019-20 season in the second-place position entering the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery, with the following odds: 14.0% chance of No. 1, 13.4% of No. 2, 12.7% of No. 3, 12.0% of No. 4, 27.8% of No. 5 and 20.0% of No. 6.

This draft is an opportunity for Cleveland to add more talent to a roster that won only 19 games last season, and according to Cavaliers GM Kody Altman, Cleveland should be able to get a very good player at five. 

“We are excited about the depth of this year’s draft class,” said Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman. “We are confident that this draft position will allow us to acquire talent that will complement our core mix of young players and established veterans. We look forward to welcoming someone who embodies everything we are building here in Cleveland from a culture, work ethic and commitment to development standpoint, both on and off the floor. We will also continue to explore opportunities that could be impactful for our team both now and in the future as we build toward sustainable success.”

Cleveland held the fifth pick in last year’s draft and selected Darius Garland, who was the only NBA rookie in 2019-20 with at least 700 points, 225 assists and 100 three-pointers. 

The Cavaliers were represented in the lottery by Cavaliers Legend and five-time NBA All-Star Brad Daugherty, who was selected by the Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft and played his entire eight-year career with Cleveland.

With teams not having the ability to meet with these prospects in person due to COVID-19, this will be one of the most interesting drafts in a long time, so it should be interesting to see how Cleveland and other teams handle the draft.

The full results of tonight’s Draft Lottery are as follows:

  • Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Golden State Warriors

  • Charlotte Hornets

  • Chicago Bulls

  • Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Atlanta Hawks

  • Detroit Pistons

  • New York Knicks

  • Washington Wizards

  • Phoenix Suns

  • San Antonio Spurs

  • Sacramento Kings

  • New Orleans Pelicans

  • Boston Celtics

Statement from Cavs’ Bickerstaff, Altman on death of George Floyd

The state of Minnesota and the country are in mourning after the death of George Floyd. The 46-year-old Floyd died this week after an altercation with police in Minneapolis. 

On Friday, one of the officers involved in the altercation with Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. 

Today, Cleveland Cavaliers GM Koby Altman and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, and the team released a statement on Floyd’s death.

Altman and Bickerstaff’s statement:

“Our hearts are filled with sadness, disgust, and overall frustration as we continue to process the tragic and senseless acts of violence towards yet another individual of the African American community. Our sincere condolences go out to the members of the Floyd family and those who came to know and love him.

“This is a very important time in our history, and the images of this incident, as well as the countless others, will blister a lasting image in our minds forever. What’s happening in our country today has left an emotional strain and unfortunately, has shaped how we conduct our lives on a daily basis. We should not have to live in fear.

“This is not the first time that we have had to stand together in an attempt to impact change, but this could be the first time we actually “DO” create change for all of humanity. In the face of desired change, we cannot treat this as an isolated incident of outrage, but one that we remain consistently engaged with and one where we focus our energy toward sustainable accountability. We have a responsibility as fathers, husbands, and leaders of young men to stand up and speak up for those who no longer have a voice. During times like these, we have to work through our pain and work together to find a solution. Let’s all do our part!” 

Cleveland Cavaliers’ statement:

“The death of George Floyd is heartbreaking, appalling and tragic. Our collective humanity suffers greatly in the midst of senseless acts like this. Not just now, but always. Unfortunately, there are many other examples and the impact continues to resonate and reverberate far beyond the place and time each specifically occurs. These situations touch and reduce ALL of us. 

“We believe All for One really does mean ALL. Thus, ALL of us, both individually and as organizations and communities, have a responsibility to speak up and try to influence and help end horrible situations and outcomes like this. Let’s all respond with a sense of urgency and deeper determination to make life better and work towards a world where everyone feels safe.”

Photo: Ben Crump/Twitter 

Cavs’ Altman: ‘I are thrilled to remain in this community for years to come’

Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman has signed a long-term contract extension, the team announced on Friday.

“Koby has been a culture-driver and an innovator who has built a fresh, new foundation and environment for our front office and team that inspires everyone involved,” said Cavaliers Chairman Dan Gilbert. “He is a passionate leader who is executing a very dynamic, strategic plan for the future of the team and our vision for growth and success. Koby’s collaborative approach has also extended beyond the team and had a consistent, positive impact across our entire organization. I look forward to seeing his hard work and creativity continue to make us better and help guide the team towards reaching our goals for years to come.”

The 37-year-old Altman was named the 11th general manager in Cavaliers history on July 24, 2017. In his first year as general manager in 2017-18, the Cavaliers captured the Central Division crown with a 50-32 (.610) record and went on to win their fourth straight Eastern Conference Championship.

In his two NBA drafts at the helm of the Cavs front office, Altman has selected Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. He is also responsible for signing five-time NBA All-Star Kevin Love, Northeast Ohio native Larry Nance Jr. and Cedi Osman to new multi-year contract extensions. In his time as general manager, Altman has executed trades acquiring current Cavaliers Jordan Clarkson, Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson, Brandon Knight, Nance Jr. and Ante Zizic. He has also acquired four first round picks via trades since being named GM.

 “I’m truly humbled and excited to sign a long-term extension with the Cavaliers and I look forward to continuing the overall development and growth we are experiencing with this team,” said Altman. “We have a first-class organization, led by our Chairman Dan Gilbert, an extraordinary fanbase and a great team behind the team, who provide incredible resources and opportunities for us to be successful. I’m also thankful to our players, coaches and support staff, who have shown continued trust and displayed their commitment to our process of establishing a sustainable and winning culture here in Cleveland. Northeast Ohio is a special place, and my family and I are thrilled to remain in this community for years to come.”

 

Cavs GM Altman on Lue firing: Team needed a different voice

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue was released today by the team. Associate Head Coach Larry Drew has been named interim head coach. The announcement was made from Cleveland Clinic Courts by Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman.

“This was a very difficult decision. It is especially so, considering Coach Lue’s time with us over the last four years, including four straight trips to the NBA Finals,” said Altman. “We have respect and great admiration for Ty, not only as a coach, but a person. We thank him for the many ways he has contributed to our success, wish him the best and he will always be remembered for leading a very special Cavs team back against the odds to win the title in 2016. This is a different team equation, though, and one that we felt needed a different voice and approach that required this change.”

Coach Lue joined the Cavaliers coaching staff in June of 2014 as associate head coach. He was promoted to head coach in January of 2016, thus becoming the 20th head coach in franchise history. As head coach of the Cavaliers, he had a combined regular season record of 128-83 (.606) and a 41-20 (.672) mark in the playoffs.

Drew was named associate head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers in September of 2016. He spent his first two seasons with the Cavaliers as an assistant coach (2014-2016), including the 2015-16 campaign when Cleveland won the NBA championship.

Before his arrival in Cleveland, Drew served as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013-14. Prior to that, he was head coach of the Atlanta Hawks from 2010 through 2013, where he compiled a 128-102 (.557) overall record and led the Hawks to the postseason in each of his three campaigns on the bench.