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Cleveland Cavaliers promote GM Koby Altman, sign him to contract extension

The 39-year-old will remain with the team through 2028. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was also extended last month.
Credit: Phil Long/AP
Cleveland Cavaliers GM Koby Altman.

CLEVELAND — In light of the Cavaliers' surprising start to the 2021-22 season, their general manager is being rewarded for his hard work.

The team officially announced on Wednesday that it has reached agreement on a long-term contract with general manager Koby Altman. In addition, the 39-year-old will also receive a new title: president of basketball operations. 

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the multi-year contract extension for Altman will be through the 2027-28 season. Owner Dan Gilbert released the followins statement:

"Today is a great day for the franchise and another step forward in realizing our vision that includes stability in leadership for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In extending Koby Altman's contract and elevating his title to President of Basketball Operations, I have the utmost confidence in his ability and the culture he has established since taking over the basketball leadership role with our organization. Koby consistently adapts to the ever-changing landscape of the NBA and he has assembled a team whose players compliment each other's talents both on and off the floor, in addition to a front office and coaching staff of top-notch basketball minds. I feel our organization is primed for sustainable and long-term success and that is in no small part thanks to Koby's efforts, determination and talent. I look forward to what's ahead for Koby and the Cavaliers."

Exact terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Altman's extension comes comes just weeks after the team reached a similar deal with head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, which Wojnarowski reported will run through the 2026-27 campaign. This is the second new contract Altman has signed since taking over the roster decisions, with the first coming in November of 2019.

Altman, who has been with Cleveland in some capacity for nearly a decade, was thrust into the GM role in 2017 after Gilbert could not reach a deal with NBA champion David Griffin. Altman's first task was to trade disgruntled All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, and although the transaction would net the draft pick that became Collin Sexton and the Cavaliers would reach their fourth straight Finals that season, the team fell into disrepair after the legendary LeBron James left for Los Angeles in free agency.

Three straight trips to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings followed, but Altman has been able to use the lottery picks to select up-and-coming stars Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, while also acquiring Jarrett Allen from the Brooklyn Nets and signing him to a massive extension. Add in a few other pieces like Kevin Love (the remaining holdover from the 2016 title team) and Lauri Markkanen, and all of a sudden the Cavs find themselves sixth in the East at 23-18 — one more win than they had all of last year.

Said Altman:

"It has been an honor and extreme privilege to represent this organization and I'm truly humbled by the confidence granted to me by our Chairman, Dan Gilbert. His leadership has allowed us the freedom to incorporate our strategy and vision intended for the future of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball. This is a first-class organization with a passionate and loyal fanbase. 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. 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."

Altman is the only general manager to get more than one contract since Gilbert bought the team in 2005. Gilbert fired Jim Paxson just weeks after the sale went through before he and Danny Ferry agreed to part ways five years later with no championships to show for it. Chris Grant's firing in the middle of his fourth consecutive losing season gave way to Griffin, who lasted three years and constructed the roster that won the franchise's first Larry O'Brien Trophy. His eventual departure led to scorn from both Cavs fans and league analysts alike.

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