When David Griffin’s contract wasn’t renewed by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert on July 1, assistant general manager Trent Redden also left the team. With no general manager experience, Koby Altman – who was the third-highest executive – was thrown into the fire and expected to fill the general manager role. After assuming the role for a month, reports are Altmann will be named the Cavs general manager soon, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
When Gilbert didn’t renew Griffin’s contract, many thought that he had a Plan B in motion. That was far from true. He met with Chauncey Billups, who has no front office experience, but after a low-ball offer, Billups rejected him. But only after leaving it on the table for a couple weeks. With that, it seemed as though the job was Altman’s to have, the only question was when it would become official.
During his time with the Cavs, Gilbert has never given credit to just how important (and good) general managers like Griffin truly are and has promoted from within rather than re-sign a general manager, just like he did when Chris Grant left and Griffin took the job. That trend continues with Altman, who has been in Cleveland’s front office since 2012, when he was named the pro personnel manager. He then was promoted to director of pro player personnel in September 2013 and became assistant general manager last season. Before joining the Cavs, he served as an assistant coach at Columbia University for two years.
Just 34 years old, Altman is the youngest general manager in the league but already seems to be well-respected and gives the Cavs some credibility, even if he has no experience in such role.
Mike Gansey, who is currently the general manager of Cavs’ D-League affiliate Canton Charge, is expected to be named the assistant general manager under Altman. He is still expected to hire a top-level, experienced executive to join him in Cleveland, along with Gansey.
Although he wasn’t officially the general manager, Altman has already signed Jose Calderon and Jeff Green, re-signed Kyle Korver, chose to sign draft-and-stash Cedi Osman from Turkey over veteran Jamal Crawford.
In his first official week on the job, Altman must handle the fact that Kyrie Irving just requested to be trade. If he thought it would get any easier after that, the summer of 2018 could be when pending free agent LeBron James either decides to stay with the wine and gold or leave Cleveland for the second time in his career. Good luck, rookie.