CLEVELAND -- The NBA offseason rolls on, and the Cleveland Cavaliers remain without a general manager after former player-turned-broadcaster Chauncey Billups reportedly withdrew from consideration on Monday.
Billups was a longshot, at best, as a good fit for the Cavaliers’ GM job given the fact that he had never worked in the front office of an organization after completing his 17-year career that included stints with the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers.
Now, as trades continue to be made by teams anxious to compete with the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference and dethrone the Cavaliers, who have lost just five games in the Eastern Conference Playoffs over the last three years, Cleveland must find a new candidate to fill its top front-office opening.
Here are three names to watch for as the Cavaliers’ GM search extends into its third week.
Altman has been in the Cavaliers’ front office since August of 2012, and as such, helped build the team through the selections of point guard Kyrie Irving and center Tristan Thompson, as well as the acquisitions of several key pieces to Cleveland’s NBA Championship team in 2016.
Altman was promoted to assistant general manager/pro personnel in September of 2016 after serving as pro personnel manager (2012), and later, the director of pro personnel (September 2013-August 2016).
As part of his role with the Cavaliers, Altman has been in charge of scouting players, domestically and internationally, and helped former GM David Griffin in the basketball operations division.
In addition to working in the Cavaliers’ front office, he has spent several years working with the USA Basketball program, where he was the manager for the FIBA Under-17 World Championship Gold Medal team in 2010, a squad that produced three top-10 picks in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Former Olmsted Falls High School standout Mike Gansey has made a name for himself in basketball circles since retiring from playing, and was recognized for his efforts in rebuilding the Canton Charge while maintaining their consecutive playoff appearances streak with the NBA Development League Executive of the Year for the 2016-2017 season.
Despite having to replace a head coach and two assistants, needing to work with 18 different starting lineups and having 19 players see time, Gansey clinched a sixth straight trip to the NBA Development League Playoffs.
The Charge finished the regular season with a 29-21 record and earned the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs before being swept by the Raptors 905 team that produced Cavaliers center Edy Tavares.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has shown in the past that he is willing to accept responsibility for his mistakes in order to better the franchise, as he showed by making amends with small forward LeBron James and helping convince him to return to Cleveland after a four-year run with the Miami Heat.
It may indeed be time to do that again.
The very man who served as the architect of the organization’s first-ever NBA Championship, Griffin was essentially granted his release and allowed to walk in free agency, so to speak.
At the helm of the franchise since the spring of 2014, Griffin executed dozens of trades and negotiated contract extensions for all of the key pieces to the Cavaliers’ championship run, and as such, was deserving of an extension of his own.
If the Cavaliers are potentially considering this option, they have to hurry as Griffin is reportedly in the mix to be the new president of the Knicks.