Cleveland Cavaliers: News, Updates and Team History
Cleveland Cavaliers History and Highlights.
The Cleveland Cavaliers compete in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the NBA. They are playing their home games at the Rocket Mortgage Field House. The team is mainly known for LeBron James, who brought the only NBA title to Cleveland in 2016.
Founding and Early Years
The Cavaliers were founded in 1970 when they joined the NBA as an expansion team. They had a tough upbringing losing their first 15 games in the NBA.
Soon after, in 1976, the Cavaliers won their first Division title which was also the first winning season for the franchise and the first Playoff appearance.
The Cleveland Cavaliers became a serious NBA team in the middle of the 1980s as they made 10 Playoff appearances from 1985 to 1998. The 1988-89 season was their best in history, finishing with a 57-25 record with a team that was led by Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, and Larry Nance and coached by Lenny Wilkens.
In the late 1990s, the team was led by the point guard Terrell Brandon and later acquired Shawn Kemp, but that team also didn’t achieve much.
The LeBron Era
The real success for the Cavs started in 2003 when they drafted Ohio native LeBron James with the first overall pick. Despite being only 19 years old, James immediately showed that he would take over the league.
The Cleveland Cavaliers hired coach Mike Brown and built the team around James and center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. That team featured Sasha Pavlovic, Anderson Varejao, and Drew Gooden, and it didn’t take long until they made their first NBA Finals appearance.
First NBA Finals
These Cavs made the first NBA Finals appearance in 2007, in an era where the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls were dominating the Eastern Conference. However, the Cavs did not have any significant Playoff success, with the San Antonio Spurs sweeping them in four games.
The following season brought a new franchise record of 66 wins and 16 losses, including a 39-2 home record. However, despite this, they still lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Orlando Magic.
In the offseason, the Cavs added Shaquille O’Neal, creating a scary duo with LeBron James, although Shaq was already 37 years old and far past his prime. Still, Cleveland made the playoffs, losing to the Boston Celtics in the second round.
In 2010, the basketball world was stunned by LeBron James’ decision to sign for the Miami Heat as a free agent, a move that made him a villain in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were not even close to the team they were with James in.
Irving and Love
Things turned around when the Cavs won the 2011 NBA draft lottery and selected Kyrie Irving with the first pick. Irving was the new hope of the Cavaliers but was too young to take the whole team on his back.
The Cleveland Cavaliers also won the NBA draft lottery in 2013 and 2014. In 2013 they made one of the biggest mistakes in the history of the drafts by selecting Anthony Bennett with the first pick, a player that would soon lose his place in the league. However, the Cavs did a better job in 2014, selecting Andrew Wiggins and trading him for one of the best power forwards at the time, Kevin Love.
LeBron Returns for NBA Championship Win
With Irving and Love on the team, LeBron decided to return to Cleveland and get the job done by winning an NBA championship for his home state. He led the team to four consecutive NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, managing to win in 2016 despite being 3-1 down in the finals series. LeBron James’ block on Andre Iguodala and Kyrie Irving’s clutch three-pointer in the last minute are remembered as some of the greatest Playoff moments ever.
Both James and Irving soon left Cleveland and the team went on to rebuild again.
Darius Garland is the current leader of the team as the point guard. In 2022, he made his first All-Star appearance and led the team to the Play-in tournament where they lost to the Brooklyn Nets.