“Lot of optimism as to where we are as a franchise,” Altman told reporters. “A lot of questions were answered. … The future’s really, really bright.”
Oh, really? I don’t know if Cavs fans buy this. In fact, I’m sure most don’t.
Altman said he didn’t want the Cavs to get into excuse-making mode after experiencing an array of injuries on the way to a 22-50 finish. He praised the rise of Darius Garland, the continued success of Collin Sexton and the addition of Jarrett Allen. He said he can’t wait to see more of Isaac Okoro.
All of that makes sense.
But what doesn’t compute is Altman’s lack of accountability about the Cavs compiling the league’s worst record over the past three seasons combined.
He offered no real battle plan other than the team growing “organically,” with the assistance of another lottery pick in a “deep draft.” These alone aren’t reasons for hope. They are merely the rally cry of every team that fails to put a competitive team on the floor.
Altman and the Cavs aren’t really saying anything other than what all the other nonplayoff teams have already stated. Except it took Altman almost two weeks longer than everyone else to say it.
Why, we have no clue.
Credit to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic for pushing Altman on the questions Cavs fans really want to know — the trade of Kevin Porter Jr., the Andre Drummond contract buyout, the Kevin Love inbounds pass ordeal.
Altman insisted none of those incidents warranted a press conference. He may be right about that. He deserves credit for tackling each topic individually on Friday. But how can we be sure those types of predicaments won’t occur again?
It seems to happen a lot on Altman’s watch, too much if we’re being honest.
Also credit to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com for asking Altman if he’s spoken with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and if Altman is confident in a return.
Altman said, yes, he believes he’ll be back, but really offered nothing concrete. He did not say if Gilbert has actually told him that.
Whatever, though. What is bugging Cavs fans at this point is Altman implied the team is going to stay the course, continue to build around the young players. That’s all well and good, but we see what happens when there’s no experience and very little depth.
You get another lousy season that featured 16 losses in the last 18 games. You get another year of banking everything on the lottery — then hoping your first-round picks don’t go up in flames, as Porter did in Cleveland.
That’s not a plan. That’s a prayer.
It’s OK that Altman didn’t tip his hand at what offseason moves are being contemplated. It’s probably good that he didn’t say the Cavs will do everything they can to rid themselves of Love and his contract — which they most certainly intend to do.
And it’s good Altman didn’t reveal that he knows in order to move Love, he will likely have to attach a young player or pick. The Cavs are in a pickle, and Love is merely one reason why.
One source on the inside of the Cavs told FortyEightMinutes that the organization is currently “a sh*t show.” I’ve spoken to several players outside of the organization who have expressed similar sentiments.
Altman painted a very different picture. The truth is likely somewhere in between.
The key here is that Altman is more honest with himself than he was with the fans on Friday. The success and failures of the organization are still all on him, at least for the time being.
He may deserve more time, but he also owes the fans a real explanation on what’s gone wrong and real answers on how it’s going to improve.
Let’s just hope he understands all that, because this is suddenly a franchise that is light years away from making a dent in the NBA and even in Cleveland.