Koby Altman thanks LeBron for "the years he gave the team."
The mass exodus to Los Angeles has barely begun, but with LeBron at the helm of a new project, many are hopeful it will signal a change in the power dymamic of the NBA. One person who was hardly thrilled with the decision was Cavaliers' general manager Koby Altman, a young exec who inherited his front office position well before rumors of a LeBron homecoming started to swirl. In the end, Altman became very attached to the idea of keeping LeBron around as a field general.
Altman relayed his feelings on LeBron's departure to a small gathering of Cleveland-area reporters outside the Cox Pavilion arena. "When you first get hit with it, there is a level of hurt," said Altman. "You're hurt because of what you went through for the four years with him and what he meant to us. But I was extremely thankful at the same time."
We as fans knew first hand of Cleveland's helpless situation. LeBron always held the cards, because his contract called for a non-movement clause, and trading him for assets, although beneficial to the organization's longterm planning, would cause more damage than good based on LeBron's contribution to Cavaliers team culture.
Altman was cognizant of LeBron's figurative role when he considered his next few words, pausing briefly to catch his breath. "I realize what we accomplished this year and the last four years, and we did a lot. I mean, it was four incredible years led by him, and I'm very thankful for the years he gave our team, this organization, the city," said Altman, admitting he found out about 'Bron's courtship with the Lakers like the rest of us. Altman valiantly fought to the bitter end, believing his organization was still in the mix, until they weren't.
May this be the birth of a new chapter. Cleveland is a "sport-crazed city" most deserving of success, for as long as the Browns are doomed to repeat their mistakes.