The loss of their best player hasn’t dampened the competitive spirits of Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman. In fact, he appears to be emboldened to stay competitive next season and in the seasons to come.
In his first public comments since LeBron James decided to leave the Cavs to join the Los Angeles Lakers, Altman shared that the Cavs will remain competitive next season per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
“The years when you’re non-competitive aren’t fun,” Altman said. “And I know that’s hard to build a culture that way and we’ve had a great culture of winning because of LeBron and that infrastructure that he brings right away. And I’d like to capitalize on that.
“You won’t be nearly as good if you lose a player of that magnitude. But we can still be competitive, we can be tough, we can be skilled, we can be talented and we can still use that culture that’s sort of been embedded these last four years.”
Altman also spoke about the team’s direction next season and what they plan to do with five-time All-Star Kevin Love, whom many believe the Cavs should trade now that James has left the team:
“Kevin is an All-Star and you don’t get better by moving Kevin. Kevin’s been incredible for us for four years and he wants to be here and to me that’s a big part for guys that are here and the guys that we’re gonna acquire, is that they want to be here and be a part of this new chapter and culture that we’re creating.”
Without James and Kyrie Irving, who was traded nearly a year ago, Cleveland will be trying to create a culture that centers on the 10-year veteran. Love averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season. His 41.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc was the second highest of his career.
Just when everyone thinks that the Cavs will be tanking next season, Altman has a message for these people:
“To go the complete opposite direction, which we’ve been through, is not fun and it’s hard,” Altman continues. “It’s hard to sort of come out of that. And the unknown is really daunting to me.
“I really like what we have now and I don’t necessarily want to go backwards.”
Though many don’t trust that the Cavs can make the playoffs next season, the front office believes otherwise. Tanking is not an option for the Wine and Gold.
Besides, it’s still early in free agency and the team may yet tweak the roster before the season starts. Just don’t expect the Cavs to see Love wearing a different uniform by then.