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From Panther guard to Cavaliers general manager

CLEVELAND — A former Middlebury College men’s basketball point guard became LeBron James’ boss last week.
Koby Altman, a 2004 graduate who started 42 games for Coach Jeff Brown’s Panthers in his four-year career, including 17 of 22 games as a senior, was named the general manager of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers on July 24.
Altman, 34, served as interim general manager beginning June 19, when Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert fired his predecessor, David Griffith. Griffith had assembled the team that won the 2016 NBA championship. The Cavaliers, who have made three consecutive appearances in the NBA finals, failed to repeat as champions when they lost to the Golden State Warriors, 4-1, in a best of seven series. 
Altman, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, becomes the fifth Cleveland GM to work for Gilbert since 2005, according to a July 24 Associated Press article.
Altman joined the Cavaliers’ front office in 2012 and was promoted to be Griffith’s assistant the summer after the team won the 2016 championship, according to NBA.com.
In a statement released after he hired Altman, Gilbert said, “Koby Altman has led our front office group through this transition period, impressing many inside the franchise and outside the organization, as well. We are very excited that he will now be officially leading the basketball side of our franchise. Koby has the credentials, knowledge, experience and instincts to be an outstanding general manager. In addition to these positive attributes and outstanding relationships around the league, Koby will inspire and impact the best possible culture throughout the organization.”
Altman faces challenges: he was hired at about the same time that it became known that the Cavaliers’ second-best player, guard Kyrie Irving, wished to be traded.
James’ contract with the Cavaliers is also set to expire after this season, and the player — generally acknowledged still to be the league’s best — has not made his future intentions known.
The Cavalier front office is also handicapped in its efforts to improve the team since its payroll is up against the NBA’s salary cap, which limits how much teams can spend to acquire new players. League rules also require salaries exchanged in trades to be essentially equal.
Per the AP, Altman joined the Cavs as the team’s pro personnel manager and was promoted to director of pro player personnel the following year.   
According to NBA.com, after Altman left Middlebury he served as an assistant coach at the Amherst College, Columbia University and Southern Illinois programs and earned a master’s degree in sport management at the University of Massachusetts.
Altman has also worked with the USA Basketball program. He served as the team manager for the championship USA Basketball’s team at the inaugural FIBA Under-17 World Championship in Hamburg, Germany. That team featured three players selected among the top 10 in the 2012 NBA Draft. In 2009, he assisted Team USA’s championship 19-and-under team in the FIBA Under-19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand.  
At Middlebury his highest-scoring season came as a sophomore, when Altman averaged 6.8 points and 22.1 minutes per game while starting 13 times. He played less as a junior and averaged 3.9 points, but notched a career-high 71 assists in 17.4 minutes per game, including 12 starts. As a senior he started 17 times, shot a better percentage in 20.6 minutes per game while averaging 6.1 points, and cut down on turnovers while averaging about 3.0 assists for a 12-12 squad.
Altman’s front-office involvement in 2016 with an NBA championship team makes him the second Panther athletic alum to be associated with a major sport championship: Former Panther football kicker Steven Hauschka won the 2014 NFL Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks, scoring 11 points in the game.

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