Koby Altman will attempt to navigate through new dynamic with Cavs

"This is a different situation and it calls for a totally different approach"

Kyle Lewandowski
October 30, 2018 - 2:52 pm
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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) — The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the season two weeks ago with playoffs on their minds. After six losses to open the campaign in which they have been behind by at least 16 points in each contest, the franchise excused head coach Ty Lue from his role with the team in an effort to change the course of the season.

Cavs general manager Koby Altman has held firm on his stance that this team is capable of competing and to him, Lue simply wasn't getting the most out of his players.

"The challenge of this year was we had a mix of veterans and young guys and that’s a complex situation, that’s difficult and it didn’t come together the way we envisioned," Altman said. "We just didn’t think coach Lue was the right fit for this group. Right now, it was my job to sort of right the ship and push us in the right direction so we had to make the decision."

With each of the previous four seasons came the opportunity to compete for a championship. For a team with LeBron James and pieces placeed around him the only goal is to be the last team standing. Now, it's either about fighting to merely make the playoffs or packing it in and positioning yourself for the future.

"This is a different situation and it calls for a totally different approach," Altman said. "I think that different dynamics call for different approaches. When LeBron came back, that was a different dynamic, we needed a different approach there. That was a sense of urgency and that was a time to get to the mountain top. This is a totally different deal."

Altman brought Lue back to begin the season because he wanted to give everyone a chance to work with the new group but for Altman, six games was enough to see that Lue was not the right guy moving forward. He didn't want to string it out any longer and he wanted to be fair to Lue and organization instead of trying to fight through something he had already made up his mind on.

Despite doubts from the outside the organization has had their eyes set on returning to the postseason for the fifth consecutive year. After the first two weeks of the season does Altman think playoffs are still a realistic end goal?

"I need to see us play better basketball first. I can’t point to one thing in this season that I’m really optimistic about in terms of ‘we do this really well.’ I need to see us compete at a level and play our best basketball before I can say that. It’s a question that we had as one of our goals this season. We wanted to overachieve with this group and we haven’t done that."

So far, the Cavs are yet to achieve a single victory.

Altman was asked if the priorities for the franchise have changed after a winless start.

"That’s evolving. That’s probably a week to week evaluation. We haven’t played our best basketball yet and so I wanted to give ourselves a chance to actually play our best basketball and see what that looks like. But, my job is to evaluate our talent level and make decisions and that’s going to evolves as the year goes on."

Not a total change of thinking but maybe a dose of reality has set in around the team. This is a season the Cavs have to find pieces to build around moving forward. Altman has been with the front office since 2012, a time when rebuilding was taking place before LeBron returned. So what does he want to see this time around, being in charge of whe whole process?

"Night in, night out, I want to compete. I want that to be our product. I want to compete, I want to get up and down the floor, and I want people to be excited to watch us. I also want there to be an element of player development, a focus on that and setting up players to be successful within a system."