Dan Gilbert’s confident statement regarding Koby Altman after he misses out on Executive of the Year

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Even though Koby Altman came up short in this year’s balloting for NBA Executive of the Year, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert believes that he’ll be a “top contender” for the award next year.

Zach Kleiman was named as this year’s Executive of the Year after his Memphis Grizzlies team ended the regular season with the second-best record in the Western Conference at 56-26.

While the Grizzlies’ season ended on Friday night, their resurgence this season was a vast improvement from the 38-34 record the team had during last year’s 72-game regular season.

Entering the 2021-22 regular season, there had been rumors that Altman’s job might be in jeopardy if the Cavaliers continued to struggle. Instead, the Cavs finished with their first winning record since the 2017-18 campaign and reached the play-in portion of the NBA postseason.

As Gilbert noted, the Cavaliers’ promising season was directly affected by key injuries. Those injuries include center Jarrett Allen’s fractured finger down the stretch that proved to be costly to the team’s playoff hopes.

In addition to Allen, who Altman acquired in a January 2021 trade, the rookie season of Evan Mobley also showed Altman’s skill in taking him with the third overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Finally, the blossoming of guard Darius Garland again showed Altman’s foresight, as back in 2019, Garland was taken with the fifth overall pick in the draft.

Altman took over as the Cavaliers’ general manager in 2017 and was forced to undertake a rebuilding of the franchise one year later after the departure of LeBron James.

At many points along the way, that rebuilding proved to be a painful process. However, the immediate future looks promising for the Cavaliers, and it’s a situation that could end up with Altman being recognized for his work next year.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.