Altman: Cavs right where they want to be, and that's back together

Sam Amico

It's not the perfect situation, nothing is in times like these, but Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman will take it.

After all, the Cavs are getting in some run despite the many challenges and massive doubts.

"As soon as we found out we were being left out of the (Disney) bubble ... and I get it, these were incredibly hard decisions that the league had to make ... but it didn't mean that we weren't upset and disappointed that we weren't down there," Altman told reporters Friday.

Today, the majority of the Cavaliers are back at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, getting up shots, getting in some five-on-five, getting in work. It's all done as part of an NBA-approved minicamp plan that allows the eight non-Disney squads to practice.

Much like the restart in Orlando, the bottom eight are doing everything in a "campus-like" environment in their respective cities, with coronavirus testing and other safety protocols put into place.

The Cavs, Charlotte Hornets and several other teams pushed hard for some sort of practices and/or scrimmages, just to get together before the start of next season -- which may not come until January, or later.

"When (the NBA's return) was announced, obviously we gave out support, because we wanted the restart to be successful," Altman said. "But the eight teams (left out) knew we needed something. So we started to galvanize around different ideas and strategies to get something. We pushed and pushed, and got this."

Kevin Love, Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Porter Jr. are just some of the names Cavs fans know taking part. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff, of course, is leading the charge.

Altman was hoping for some competition, perhaps even just to face other teams in the region, such as perhaps the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls.

But hey, the Cavs took what they could get. And Altman indicated that is good for the Cavs, their fans and everyone else involved in the organization.

"Is it ideal? I'd love to have some real games against others. But I get it," he said. "We're in the middle of pandemic. We've put in place a really unique in-market bubble that's incredible, that our guys are enjoying early."

It gets better.

"We're in a five-star hotel downtown, right? We get to play basketball at our own fieldhouse," Altman added. "We're having incredible experiences off the court, team bonding. We're getting to grow our relationships with the players and the coaching staff, and get back to normal a little bit. These are incredibly meaningful days for our organization."

The Cavs finished 19-46 overall, the worst record in the Eastern Conference. But that can be deceiving. They went 5-6 and showed cohesion and determination after Bickerstaff took over in February.

"You guys saw it. There was great momentum and some excitement with this roster and the players," Altman said. "Fans want to see that and re-engage, and be part of this Cavaliers momentum."