NBA News: What Mike Gansey’s Promotion to GM Means for the Cavaliers

Just days after the Cleveland Cavaliers finished hosting the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, the franchise was back in the news for an off-the-court move: A front-office reshuffling that saw Mike Gansey assume the general manager role.

Here’s what happened, what it means, and what’s next for the Cavs.

What happened

A few weeks after the Cavaliers made a sneaky good move promoting Koby Altman to president of basketball operations, they made more front-office moves. The biggest move was elevating Mike Gansey to general manager:

NameNew titleOld title
Mike GanseyGeneral ManagerAssistant General Manager
Brandon WeemsAssistant General ManagerSenior Director of Player Personnel
Jason HillmanVice President of Basketball OperationsBasketball Chief of Staff/Team Counsel
Jon NicholsVice President of Basketball Strategy and PersonnelSenior Director of Strategy and Research

Moving Gansey to the GM’s office was about more than filling an empty seat with the nearest warm body. It was another step that further solidifies the Cavs’ standing as legitimate Eastern Conference contenders now and in the future.

What Gansey’s promotion means

The Cleveland Cavaliers promoting Mike Gansey to general manager wasn't just a reward for past successes -- they believe he is the one to take them to the next level.
The Cleveland Cavaliers named Mike Gansey their new general manager | Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Promoting Gansey from assistant general manager to GM means the Cavaliers trust him to build their team for the long haul. And why not?

Gansey already has a solid working relationship with Altman. They’ve worked closely together for years, so Altman knows what he is getting.

“Mike has been an incredible resource to me and this organization, and his work behind the scenes gives me great confidence that he is ready to take on more of a leadership role,” Altman said in a press release on NBA.com

This won’t be the first time Gansey, a former prep star from Olmstead Falls, Ohio, who played college ball at West Virginia, manages a basketball team. In five seasons in the Cleveland Charge’s (G League) front office, Gansey spent two seasons as general manager, won the 2016-17 NBA G League Executive of the Year award, and guided the Charge to five postseason berths.

As assistant GM with the Cavaliers, Gansey was a large part of the decision-making brain trust that drafted current standouts Collin Sexton (No. 8 overall in 2018), Darius Garland (No. 5 overall in 2019), Isaac Okoro (No. 5 overall in 2020), and Evan Mobley (No. 3 overall in 2021). Sure those were lottery picks, but top-10 choices aren’t always a lock. Need we remind you of all-time bust Anthony Bennett?

Gansey helped shape the current roster that was thought to be a doormat and instead starts the second half of the season 2.5 games out of the top seed in the East. The same person who helped the team arrive ahead of schedule will be the same one taking it to the next level.

What’s next for the Cavaliers

The Cavs haven’t locked down a playoff spot yet, but with the 11th-easiest remaining strength of schedule (per ESPN), they’re well on their way.

Gansey has already helped Altman swing trades for Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert. With the trade deadline passed, the Cavs could sure up any roster holes by being key players on the buyout market

Cleveland fell on its face after LeBron James left for the Lakers, but the hometown Cavs could be the best chance for King James to win a fifth title. If LeBron wants to come home, it will be on Gansey to make the call. 

Gansey will have his work cut out for him before the 2022 NBA Draft. The Cavs sent a top-14 protected pick to the Pacers in the LeVert trade, but the Cavs don’t seem likely to end up in the lottery. Building through the draft, which is how Gansey helped Cleveland become a contender in the first place, will be more challenging without a first-round pick.