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The Cleveland Cavaliers (also known as the Cavs) are a professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They began playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a 1970 expansion team.

Home arenas

Cleveland Arena (1970–1974)
Coliseum at Richfield (1974–1994)
Quicken Loans Arena (formerly called Gund Arena) (1994–present)

The Cavaliers first began play in the NBA in 1970 as an expansion team under the ownership of Nick Mileti. Playing their home games at Cleveland Arena under the direction of head coach Bill Fitch, they compiled a league-worst 15-67 record. The team hoped to build around the number one 1971 draft pick Austin Carr who had set numerous scoring records at Notre Dame, however Carr severely injured his leg shortly into his pro career and did not recover sufficiently to become a great pro player.

The following seasons saw the Cavaliers gradually improve their on-court performance, thanks to season-by-season additions of talented players such as Bingo Smith, Jim Chones, Jim Cleamons and Dick Snyder. Cleveland improved to 23-59 in their sophomore season, followed by a 32-50 record in 1972-73, and a small step backwards to 29-53 in 1973-74. In 1974, the Cavaliers moved into the brand-new Richfield Coliseum, located in the cornfields thirty miles south of downtown Cleveland in Summit County. That season, the Cavaliers finished with a 40-42 record falling just short of a playoff berth.

In the 1975-76 season with Carr, Smith, Chones, Snyder, and newly acquired Nate Thurmond; Fitch led the Cavaliers to a 49-33 record and (to date) their only division title. Fitch received the league's Coach of the Year award as the Cavs made their first-ever playoff appearance.

The Cavs won the series against the Washington Bullets, 4-3. Because of the many heroics and last-second shots, the series became known locally as the "Miracle of Richfield." However, hampered by injuries, particularly to Jim Chones, the Cavs proceeded to lose to the Boston Celtics in Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA playoffs.

Cleveland won 43 games the next two seasons (1976-77 and 1977-78), but both those seasons resulted in early playoff exits. After a 30-52 season in 1978-79, Fitch resigned as head coach. The following season, after going 37-45 under Fitch's successor Stan Albeck, original owner Mileti sold his shares to minority owner Joe Zingale.
Cleveland Cavaliers 1983-1994 logo.
Cleveland Cavaliers 1983-1994 logo.

In 1980, after just a few months, Zingale sold the team to Nationwide Advertising magnate Ted Stepien. The new owner oversaw the hiring and firing of a succession of coaches and was involved in making a number of poor trade and free agent signing decisions. The result of Stepien's questionable trading acumen was the loss of several of the team's first round draft picks, and led to a rule change in the NBA prohibiting teams from trading away first round draft picks in consecutive years. This rule is known as the "Ted Stepien Rule."

Early on in his tenure, Stepien proposed to rename the team the "Ohio Cavaliers", which the plan included playing their home games not just in the Cleveland area but also in non-Ohio markets such as Buffalo, New York and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He also introduced a polka-flavored fight song, which was widely-ridiculed by fans and the media.

The ensuing chaos was reflected by the Cavs' on-court performance and attendance woes, going 28-54 in 1980-81 (Stepien's first year as owner), followed by an absymal 15-67 mark in 1981-82. The 1981-82 team lost its last 19 games of the season which, when coupled with the five losses at the start of the 1982-83 season, comprise the NBA's all-time longest losing streak at 24 games. Although the team improved its record to 23-59 the following year, local support for the Cavs eroded which eventually bottomed out that year by averaging only 3,900 fans a game at the cavernous Coliseum which seated more than 20,000. Stepien threatened to move the franchise to Toronto and rename it the Toronto Towers, but brothers George and Gordon Gund purchased the franchise in the mid 1980s and decided to keep the team in Cleveland. (In 1993, Toronto would, in fact, get an expansion franchise, the Toronto Raptors.) Two years later, the Gunds changed the team colors from wine and gold to burnt orange, red and navy blue. Also, the team officially adopted "Cavs" as a shorter nickname for marketing purposes; it had been used unofficially by fans and headline writers since the team's inception.

In 1986, under the Gund brothers as owners, the team acquired, either through trades or the draft, Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, Ron Harper and Larry Nance. These players (minus Harper, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for the rights to Danny Ferry) formed the core of the team, under the direction of head coach Lenny Wilkens, that led the Cavs to eight playoff seasons in the next nine years, including three 50-wins plus seasons.

However, in 1989, the Cavs were paired against the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. In the fourth game of the best-of-five-series, Cleveland managed to beat the Bulls in overtime 108-105 to level the series at 2-2. Home court advantage went to Cleveland. The game was evenly matched, until Cleveland managed to score on a drive and raise the lead by one, with three seconds left. Chicago called time. The ball was inbounded to Michael Jordan, who went for a jump shot. Cleveland's Craig Ehlo jumped in front to block it, but Jordan seemed to stay in the air until Ehlo landed. "The Shot" went in as time ran out, with Chicago winning the series 3-2. The buzzer-beater is considered one of Jordan's greatest clutch moments, and the game itself one of the greatest. But the pinnacle of the Cavs' success came in the 1991-92 season, when they compiled a 57-25 record and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, losing again to the Chicago Bulls 4-2.

Soon after, the Cavaliers entered into a period of decline. With the retirements and departures of Nance, Daugherty and Price, the team lost much of its dominance and were no longer able to contest strongly during the playoffs. After the 1992-93 season, in which the Cavs boasted a 54-28 regular-season record but suffered an early exit from the playoffs, Wilkens left to coach the Atlanta Hawks.

Following the hiring of Mike Fratello as head coach starting with the 1993-94 season, the Cavs became one of the NBA's best defensive teams under the leadership of point guard Terrell Brandon. But the offense, which was a half-court, "slow-down" tempo installed by Fratello, met with mixed success. Although the Cavaliers made regular playoff appearances, they were unable to advance beyond the first round.

In 1994, the Cavs moved back to downtown Cleveland with the opening of the 20,562-seat, state-of-the-art, Gund Arena. Known by locals as "the Gund", the venue also served as the site of the 1996-97 NBA All Star Game.

Later on, players like Shawn Kemp, Ricky Davis and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added quality to the team, but without further success. Fratello was fired following the shortened 1998-99 season.

Several losing seasons followed which saw the Cavs drop to the bottom of the league and become a perennial lottery draft team. After another disappointing season in 2002-03, the Cavs landed the number one draft pick in the NBA Lottery. The Cavs selected high school phenom LeBron James.

James' status as both a local star (having played his high school basketball at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in nearby Akron) and as one of the most highly touted prospects in NBA history led many to view his selection as a turning point in the franchise's history. The 2003-04 season offered great hope for the future, as James rose to become a dominating player, winning the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

Hope was even greater for the 2004-05 season. James blossomed into a superstar, increasing his points average, shooting percentage, assists average, and rebounds average. Despite the loss of Carlos Boozer under very dubious circumstances, James teamed with Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden to form the core of the Cavs team. After a promising start when the team seemed to be locked firmly into the Eastern Conference's fifth playoff spot, the Cavs began a downward spiral that eventually led to the firing of coach Paul Silas and general manager Jim Paxson. The Cavs failed to make the playoffs that year, tied with the resurgent New Jersey Nets for the eighth (and final) playoff spot (the Nets owned the tiebreaker over the Cavs).

The 2005 offseason was one of many changes for the Cavaliers. The team hired a new coach, Mike Brown, and a new general manager, former Cavaliers forward Danny Ferry. The team also signed free agents Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall, and Damon Jones (four-year, $16 million for Damon) to multi-year contracts. Along with new owner Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers' front office consists of individuals new to their respective positions. Despite the relative inexperience of many of these newcomers, the franchise sees great hope in rising star LeBron James, whom many have compared to all-time great Michael Jordan.

In March, the Cavaliers clinched their first playoff appearance since the 1997-98 season. They wound up receiving the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference, despite having the third best record,and faced the Washington Wizards in the first round. After the two teams split the first two games in Cleveland, LeBron James scored a game-winning basket with 5.7 seconds remaining in game 3. The Wizards then won Game 4 to tie the series. With the series back in Cleveland, the Cavs emerged victorious in the fifth game, 121-120 in an exciting overtime contest that saw LeBron James hit the game winning shot with 0.9 seconds left on the clock. Game 6 also went to overtime, on a Gilbert Arenas three-point shot at the end of regulation to tie the score. In the extra session, however, Damon Jones nailed a long jumper in the final seconds to clinch the game for the Cavs - advancing them into the second round for the first time in 13 years.

In the second round, the Cavs lost the first two games to the Detroit Pistons, but then won the next three, including one at the Palace of Auburn Hills (producing the Pistons' only three game losing streak of the season). However, they lost a close Game 6 at home and then fell to Detroit, 79-61, in game 7. This game produced two records of futility for the Cleveland organization. First, they earned the record for least points scored in a Game 7, and secondly, they tied the record for least points scored in a half with 23.

The two playoff rounds were a showcase for the emergence of LeBron James, which he has achieved many "youngest ever to..." records considering his age (21 in the 2005-06 season). More importantly, it marks the rebirth of a once stagnant basketball franchise.

In 2007, the Cavs have continued their success, as LeBron James has taken his stardom to the next level, becoming the most marketable player in the NBA and arguably the MVP of the league. Coming off of injury and family issues, Larry Hughes is also getting back into the groove of things, adding another scorer and defensive threat. Zydrunas Ilgauaskas, Drew Gooden, and Eric Snow, and Sasha Pavlovic are also all healthy and rookie guard Daniel Gibson has become a spark off the bench. The Cavs are looking to add to their recent success with a deep run in the playoffs. Ultimately, their eyes are all set on one prize-an NBA championship. They officially clinched a playoff spot to take the first step towards this on March 27th of the season with a 105-94 win over the Indiana Pacers, since with 43 wins at the time, they were assured a better record and/or head-to-head tiebreakers over any of the non-playoff teams at the time.

After jockeying for the 2nd seed against the Bulls down the final stretch of that regular season, they posted the same regular-season record as in the 2005-06 season to narrowly edge them 50-32 to 49-33. This was a crucial accomplishment, since bracketing would force the 3rd place Central team down to a 5th seed despite their 3rd best Eastern record, and because it is generally considered that the 2nd seed has the vastly easier path to the conference finals, since they would not have to play the Miami Heat in the first round or the Detroit Pistons in the 2nd round.

Instead, the Cavaliers' first-round was a rematch with the 7th-seeded Wizards, who finished 41-41 and struggled with injuries down the stretch to finish 2-8 in their last 10 games. The Cavaliers swept this series 4-0 and faced the New Jersey Nets in the second round. On May 18, 2007, they won the series 4-2 thanks to a 23 pt, 8 reb, 8 assist, effort by LeBron James and closed out the Nets in game 6 with a score of 88 to 72. This series win marks only the third appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in the franchise's history as they will take on the top-seeded Detroit Pistons.

Season-by-season records

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Win-Loss %
Season W L % Playoffs Results
Cleveland Cavaliers
1970-71 15 67 .183
1971-72 23 59 .280
1972-73 32 50 .390
1973-74 29 53 .354
1974-75 40 42 .488
1975-76 49 33 .598 Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals Cleveland 4, Washington 3
Boston 4, Cleveland 2
1976-77 43 39 .524 Lost First Round Washington 2, Cleveland 1
1977-78 43 39 .524 Lost First Round New York 2, Cleveland 0
1978-79 30 52 .366
1979-80 37 45 .451
1980-81 28 54 .341
1981-82 15 67 .183
1982-83 23 59 .280
1983-84 28 54 .341
1984-85 36 46 .439 Lost First Round Boston 3, Cleveland 1
1985-86 29 53 .354
1986-87 31 51 .378
1987-88 42 40 .512 Lost First Round Chicago 3, Cleveland 2
1988-89 57 25 .695 Lost First Round Chicago 3, Cleveland 2
1989-90 42 40 .512 Lost First Round Philadelphia 3, Cleveland 2
1990-91 33 49 .402
1991-92 57 25 .695 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals Cleveland 3, New Jersey 2
Cleveland 4, Boston 3
Chicago 4, Cleveland 2
1992-93 54 28 .659 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals Cleveland 3, New Jersey 2
Chicago 4, Cleveland 0
1993-94 47 35 .573 Lost First Round Chicago 3, Cleveland 0
1994-95 43 39 .524 Lost First Round New York 3, Cleveland 1
1995-96 47 35 .573 Lost First Round New York 3, Cleveland 0
1996-97 42 40 .512
1997-98 47 35 .573 Lost First Round Indiana 3, Cleveland 1
1998-99 22 28 .440
1999-2000 32 50 .390
2000-01 30 52 .366
2001-02 29 53 .354
2002-03 17 65 .207
2003-04 35 47 .427
2004-05 42 40 .512
2005-06 50 32 .610 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals Cleveland 4, Washington 2
Detroit 4, Cleveland 3
2006-07 50 32 .610 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Conference Finals Cleveland 4, Washington 0
Cleveland 4, New Jersey 2
Detroit 2, Cleveland 1
Totals 1349 1653 .449
Playoffs 44 60 .423

Players of note

Basketball Hall of Famers

* Wayne Embry (Former team president and first African American to serve in that role in the NBA; inducted as a contributor.)
* Nate Thurmond
* Lenny Wilkens (Inducted as both player and coach.)

Not to be forgotten

* Derek Anderson
* Tony Battie
* Carlos Boozer
* Terrell Brandon
* Jim Brewer
* Chucky Brown
* Mark Bryant
* Jim Chones
* Jim Cleamons
* Ricky Davis
* Craig Ehlo
* Danny Ferry
* World B. Free
* Stephen Graham
* Ron Harper
* Cedric Henderson
* Tyrone Hill
* Phil Hubbard
* Jim Jackson
* Jumaine Jones
* Shawn Kemp

* Steve Kerr
* Brevin Knight
* Jeff McInnis
* Darius Miles
* Andre Miller
* Chris Mills
* Lamond Murray
* Ronald Murray
* Smush Parker
* Wesley Person
* Vitaly Potapenko
* Bobby Phills
* Cliff Robinson
* Campy Russell
* Elmore Smith
* Dick Snyder
* Bob Sura
* Robert DeShaun "Tractor" Traylor
* Dajuan Wagner
* Mark West
* John "Hot Rod" Williams
* Gerald Wilkins

Retired numbers

* 7 Bingo Smith, F, 1970-79
* 22 Larry Nance, F, 1988-94
* 25 Mark Price, G, 1986-95
* 34 Austin Carr, G, 1971-80
* 42 Nate Thurmond, C, 1975-77
* 43 Brad Daugherty, C, 1986-94

Current roster

Coaches and others


* Bill Fitch 1970-1979
* Stan Albeck 1979-1980
* Bill Musselman 1980-1981
* Don Delaney 1980-1982
* Bob Kloppenburg 1981-1982
* Chuck Daly 1981-1982
* Bill Musselman 1981-1982
* Tom Nissalke 1982-1984
* George Karl 1984-1986

* Gene Littles 1985-1986
* Lenny Wilkens 1986-1993
* Mike Fratello 1993-1999
* Randy Wittman 1999-2001
* John Lucas 2001-2003
* Keith Smart 2002-2003
* Paul Silas 2003-2005
* Brendan Malone 2004-2005
* Mike Brown 2005-Present

Franchise statistical leaders


* Games - Danny Ferry (723)
* Minutes Played - Hot Rod Williams (20,802)
* Field Goals Made - Austin Carr (4,272)
* Field Goal Attempts - Austin Carr (9,480)
* 3-Point Field Goals Made - Mark Price (802)
* 3-Point Field Goal Attempts - Mark Price (1,960)
* Free Throws Made - Brad Daugherty (2,741)
* Free Throw Attempts - Brad Daugherty (3,670)
* Offensive Rebounds - Hot Rod Williams (1,620)
* Defensive Rebounds - Brad Daugherty (4,020)
* Total Rebounds - Brad Daugherty (5,227)
* Assists - Mark Price (4,201)
* Steals - Mark Price (734)
* Blocked Shots - Hot Rod Williams (1,200)
* Turnovers - Brad Daugherty (1,511)
* Personal Fouls - Bingo Smith (1,752)
* Points - Brad Daugherty (10,389)

Per game

* Minutes Played - LeBron James (41.4748)
* Field Goals Made - LeBron James (9.6303)
* Field Goals Attempted - LeBron James (21.0042)
* 3-Point Field Goals Made - Dan Majerle (1.7805)
* 3-Point Field Goal Attempted - Dan Majerle (5.0488)
* Free Throws Made - LeBron James (5.9874)
* Free Throws Attempted - LeBron James (8.0252)
* Offensive Rebounds - Zydrunas Ilgauskas (3.1772)
* Defensive Rebounds - Cliff Robinson (8.1056)
* Total Rebounds - Rick Roberson (11.952)
* Assists - Andre Miller (8.2245)
* Steals - Ron Harper (2.3246)
* Blocked Shots - Larry Nance (2.5104)
* Turnovers - Shawn Kemp (3.3775)
* Personal Fouls - James Edwards (4.4348)
* Points - LeBron James (26.5)

Per 48 minutes

* Field Goals Made - World B. Free (12.5158)
* Field Goals Attempted - World B. Free (27.5801)
* 3-Point Field Goals Made - Damon Jones (3.2153)
* 3-Point Field Goals Attempted - Damon Jones (8.5206)
* Free Throws Made - Shawn Kemp (8.5796)
* Free Throws Attempted - Shawn Kemp (11.2589)
* Offensive Rebounds - Chris Dudley (6.4515)
* Defensive Rebounds - Cliff Robinson (11.7721)
* Total Rebounds - Rick Roberson (16.5464)
* Assists - Brevin Knight (12.5395)
* Steals - Foots Walker (3.3854)
* Blocked Shots - Elmore Smith (4.2677)
* Turnovers - Shawn Kemp (4.9097)
* Personal Fouls - Mark West (8.3082)
* Points - World B. Free (33.3947)



WTAM (AM 1100) in Cleveland is the flagship station of a 16 station Cavaliers radio network [1]. Veteran broadcaster Joe Tait has served as the team's radio play-by-play announcer since its inception in 1970, with a brief break away from the team in the period when it was owned by Ted Stepien. Tait is considered one of the prominent announcers in professional sports.


The vast majority of Cavaliers' TV games air on cable and satellite on Fox Sports Net Ohio, with select games (both regular season and playoffs) simulcast on WUAB (Channel 43) in Cleveland, the longtime free TV home of the Cavs.

Starting in 2006, play-by-play announcer Fred McLeod and analysts Scott Williams and Austin Carr, both former Cavaliers players, will handle local TV commentary. McLeod has been named as a replacement for long-time Cavs TV analyst Michael Reghi.