NEW YORK (WFAN) — Before his team took on the Nets at the Barclays Center on Wednesday night, Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman appeared on Mike Francesa’s show to discuss how Cleveland is shaping up, the Kyrie Irving trade and even the Knicks.
Almost as soon as Altman, 34, was hired in July, All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving requested to be traded.READ MORE: Walker Scores 19, Knicks Romp To End 15-Game Skid Vs 76ers
“Those were some dark days,” said Altman, a Brooklyn native. “I don’t like to go back and rehash those early moments in my tenure. It was a very challenging time.
“It was hard because, one, you don’t want to go into a position where you have to trade your All-Star. And so the first week or so, I’m just collecting information and figuring it all out and seeing who was serious about it and who presented the best offers.”
Altman said a number of teams made strong offers for Irving, who was sent to Boston in August for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a pair of draft picks.
“From a value perspective, we thought that Boston really stepped up and presented us with a package that, one, let us reshuffle the decks but kept us really competitive this year, made us deeper and gave us some young assets and draft picks that we thought were valuable for us and our flexibility going forward.”
Altman also discussed the league’s concerns over teams resting star players — such as LeBron James.READ MORE: Flames Use 4-Goal Outburst In 1st Period To Beat Devils
“We’re very sensitive to that … because we get it,” he said. “We have a guy that when we go on the road, we’re sold out in every building. You’re traveling with a guy that’s bigger than life. That being said, we need to protect our guy because we’re trying to win a championship. And so, I totally get the new rules being put in place, and I understand where Adam Silver, our commissioner, is coming from. He’s done a remarkable job with our league. So we’re going to make sure we abide by the new rules, but we also have to be conscious of what it’s like for LeBron.”
Altman added it was probably unreasonable to ask the 32-year-old James to play 82 games when the Cavs are aiming for another deep playoff run.
Some observers suggest James is a de-facto general manager because he gets involved in the team’s personnel moves. But Altman tried to put that into perspective, saying James is a valuable consultant to the front office.
“He’s a basketball savant,” he said. “I don’t say that lightly. He’s an absolute genius, X’s and O’s wise and then personnel wise. So it wouldn’t be smart of us not to utilize his brain when we’re discussing different opportunities. He’s been in this league — this is his 15th year. He knows everybody. He evaluates everybody. He’s up late watching League Pass so he does the analysis and the evaluation.”
As for his feelings on this season’s Cavs, who are trying to return to the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year?
“We’re super deep, and we’re excited,” he said. “I think there’s going to be some bumps and bruises along the way with eight new guys. … The continuity doesn’t start out right away.”MORE NEWS: New York Weather: CBS2’s 10/27 Wednesday Morning Forecast
To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.