Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman went from reportedly being on the hot seat to being on the brink of winning NBA Executive of the Year.
Much like the roster he built, Altman experienced quite the turnaround.
While the award actually went to Grizzlies vice president/GM Zach Kleinman (and it was well-deserved), Altman received some warranted respect from his peers — tying Bulls executive VP of basketball operations Artūras Karnišovas for second.
Despite multiple injuries to key players — including All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen — the Cavs finished 44-38 and with the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference. That marked the best finish for the Cavs without LeBron James on the team since 1997-98.
And let’s not forget, the Cavs also lost leading scorer Collin Sexton and veteran guard Ricky Rubio for the year, with Sexton being ruled out after just 11 appearances. Still, Altman continued to make signings and trades in an effort to bring in reinforcements, landing guard Caris LeVert from the Pacers ahead of the trade deadline.
Of course, LeVert was also injured, almost immediately after being acquired, and never really got into a rhythm.
No matter, the Cavs kept chugging along, battling, and a lot of that had to do with the positive vibes instituted by Altman and coach JB Bickerstaff. Not only did the Cavs win and compete, they were entirely drama-free.
Altman said he hopes to see more of the above to come, with an eye on being even better next season.
“People realize we have something special brewing here in Northeast Ohio,” he said.
Kleinman received 16 of 29 first-place votes and 85 overall points to claim the honor, with Altman and Karnišovas each tallying 27 points.
Per the NBA announcement, “Executives were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.”