The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers were the first team in NBA history to lose 26 games in a row and were arguably one of the worst teams in NBA history.
Last year, Cleveland, Ohio became a city that is on the upswing. They were able to host the Republican National Convention last July, the Cleveland Indians were two runs away in extra innings against the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series, and most of all LeBron James, Northeast Ohio's prodigal son, was able to bring home an NBA Championship to Cleveland. A city that had not seen a title since 1964, back when the Browns were a premier franchise instead of what they are now.
To get to this point, the Cleveland Cavaliers had to go through a lot of hardship. When LeBron James first left Cleveland to "take his talents to South Beach," Cleveland was understandably upset. The real damage was the following season, under new Head Coach and tank commander Byron Scott. The Cavaliers finished an Eastern Conference-worst 19-63, finishing slightly ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves (17-65) in terms of worst record in the league. Besides the terrible record, the team also brought a new level of futility by losing an NBA record of 26 games in a row; including a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers (112-57). This team is by far the worst in terms of talent and production in the small gap in Cavaliers' history while LeBron was away and there is one major question that remains: what has happened to the players and coaches on that 2010-2011 Cleveland Cavaliers team?
In terms of coaching, the Cavaliers during the 2010-11 season were led by arguably one of the worst coaches in team history, Byron Scott. Known for coaching the New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals and Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets to success, the Cavaliers' Front Office was hoping that they could entice LeBron James to stay after failing in trying to land coaching guru Phil Jackson from the Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately, this did not work and under Scott, in his first year, the team plummeted. They finished 29th in both offensive and defensive rankings, 25th in points per game and 23rd in points allowed per game. Things did not get better for Scott after his first season with the Cavaliers. After landing star point guard Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and streaky shooter Dion Waiters, Scott still could not pull it together for the Cavaliers as he finished with an overall record of 64-166.
After his tenure with the Cavaliers, Byron Scott joined the Los Angeles Lakers as a television analyst for the 2013-14 season. After Lakers Head Coach Mike D'Antoni resigned, Scott was the immediate favorite to land the head coaching position with the team and got the job. Unfortunately, it was more of the same for Scott who more than anything helped the Lakers tank in securing a young talent like star guard D'Angelo Russell and finished with an overall record of 38-126 in his two seasons with the Lakers.
The other members of the Cleveland Cavaliers' coaching staff during the 2010-11 season were Paul Pressey, Jamahl Mosley, Chris Jent and Joe Prunty. Pressey remained in Cleveland during Scott's tenure with the Cavaliers and eventually followed him to join the Los Angeles Lakers' staff. He has not coached in the NBA since Byron Scott was relieved of his duties with the Lakers. After Scott left Cleveland Mosley went on to be an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks and is coaching the team today. After the 2010-11 season, Chris Jent was offered an assistant coaching position with his alma mater Ohio State. He served on Ohio States' staff until the 2013-14 season where he joined the Sacramento Kings as an assistant coach and only lasted there for two seasons before making a quick stop for one season in the NBA D-League as head coach of the Bakersfield Jam and eventually returning to Ohio State as an assistant coach. Finally, Joe Prunty remained with the Cavaliers until the 2012-13 season where he joined Jason Kidd and the Brooklyn Nets. He followed Kidd to Milwaukee where he serves as an assistant coach today.
Throughout the 2010-2011 season, the Cleveland Cavaliers had nineteen players total log minutes for the team. There were remnants left over from the LeBron James era with players like Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, Anderson Varejao and more. But, there were also new faces as well with Ramon Sessions, Alonzo Gee and plenty of others as well. A lot of these players had interesting careers both with Cleveland and after their time with the Cavaliers' as well. The breakdown of where these players are now will be based on how many games total they played for the Cavaliers during the 26-game losing streak season.
The player who was first in overall games played with 81 during the 2010-11 season was Ramon Sessions for the Cleveland Cavaliers. After signing with the Cavaliers after playing with the Milwaukee Bucks before Sessions was solid for the Cavaliers with averages of 13.3 points, 5.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds. The following season Sessions continued to play well primarily as the backup to rookie guard Kyrie Irving. But, midway through the season Sessions was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, a team desperate for a point guard, along with Christian Eyenga for a 2012 protected first-round pick, Luke Walton and Jason Kapono. The move gave Sessions more playing time but he still left the Lakers after the end of the season, signing with the Charlotte Bobcats. After one and a half seasons with Charlotte Sessions was then traded to Milwaukee along with Jeff Adrien for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour. After the season Sessions signed with the Sacramento Kings for the 2014-15 season. He only ended up playing a part of it in Sacramento as he was eventually traded to the Washington Wizards for Andre Miller. After playing two solid seasons in Washington Sessions returned to Charlotte to play for the Hornets. He is currently averaging 6.2 points, 2.6 assists and 1.5 rebounds per game for Charlotte this season.
Second in overall games played in the 2010-11 season for the Cavaliers at 80 overall was big man J.J. Hickson. During the 2010-11 season, Hickson averaged 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 0.7 blocks while a constant member in head coach Byron Scott's doghouse. Due to the strained relationship between Hickson and Scott, he was traded to the Sacramento Kings after the end of the 2010-11 season for Omri Casspi and a protected 2012 first-round pick. Due to a lockout-shortened season, Hickson only appeared in 35 games for Sacramento before being waived by the Kings in March 2012. After being waived Hickson was claimed on waivers by the Portland Trailblazers and eventually re-signed with the team for a one year deal, playing in Portland through the 2012-13 season. After his stop in Portland Hickson next headed to the Denver Nuggets and played there from the 2013-14 season until the midway point of the 2015-16 season where he was waived by the Nuggets. After being waived again Hickson signed on with the Washington Wizards for the remainder of the 2015-16 season. Since August 2016 J.J. Hickson has played in the Chinese Basketball Association for the Fujian Sturgeons. This season alone Hickson has averaged 24.5 points, 13.4 rebounds and is currently ranked 15th in CBA scoring.
After Sessions and Hickson coming in third on total games played is 35-year-old shooting guard Anthony Parker. Parker had his best season in his Cavaliers tenure during the 2010-11 season with averages of 8.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. He played one more season with the Cavaliers and then announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season. In 2016 he was inducted into Maccabi Tel Aviv BC's hall of fame after an extremely successful career overseas including winning 2004 Israeli League MVP, 2006 Israeli League Finals MVP and two EuroLeague championships in 2004 and 2005.
One of the most frustrating players to put on a Cavaliers uniform was Ryan Hollins. Hollins joined the Cavaliers along with guard Ramon Sessions in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks for guards Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair. In 70 games played, with 16 starts, during the 2010-11 season Hollins averaged 5.3 points and 2.7 rebounds. He was out-rebounded by eleven other players on the Cavaliers roster that season, three of which were guards. After two seasons in Cleveland Hollins was released by the Cavaliers and then immediately signed by the Boston Celtics for the remainder of the 2011-12 season. He then signed with the Los Angeles Clippers for both the 2012-13 season and the 2013-14 season. He then stayed on the west coast and signed with the Sacramento Kings for the 2014-15 season. After spending a season in Sacramento he was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies but was then waived after playing seven preseason games for the team. Later that season he was signed by the Washington Wizards but was then waived five games later. He then re-signed with the Grizzlies only to be waived yet again four games later. He eventually signed two ten-day contracts with the Memphis Grizzlies and was then signed on for the remainder of the 2015-16 season. He was then waived a third time by Memphis at the conclusion in April of 2016. Later in 2016, he was signed by Herbalife Gran Canaria of LIGA ACB for the remainder of the 2016-17 season. He currently averages 4.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in just six games played for Herbalife Gran Canaria.
A fan favorite a remnant of the LeBron James' first tenure in Cleveland, Daniel "Boobie" Gibson played the fifth most games for the Cavaliers during the 2010-11 season at 67 games. Loved for his play during the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons, Gibson played both starting and off the bench for the Cavaliers and ended up averaging 11.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists during the season for Cleveland. Gibson played his entire NBA career in Cleveland with his last season being the 2012-13 season. After the 2012-13 season, Gibson turned himself into New Orleans police to face a charge of second-degree battery after breaking a man's jaw at a nightclub. In 2015, Gibson announced he has retired from basketball entirely to focus on his rap career. While he did not pan out and live up to the expectations after his performance against Detroit to bring the Cavaliers to their first NBA Finals, Gibson was a solid mentor and contributor to players like Kyrie Irving.
The man who finished in sixth in total minutes played with the Cavaliers that season was Antawn Jamison in 56 games played during the 2010-11 season and ended up averaging 18.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 for Cleveland. The former Sixth Man of the Year winner ended up playing until the end of the 2012 season with the Cavaliers when he then signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2012-13 season. After his time with the Lakers Jamison walked across the hallway to join the Los Angeles Clippers for the 2013-14 season but at the midway point of the season he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks and was then waived by Atlanta. Jamison has not played NBA basketball since being waived by Atlanta and has retired. He is now a Basketball Television Analyst with the Los Angeles Lakers on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
Corperryale L'Adorable Harris, also known as Manny Harris, played the seventh most games for the Cavaliers during the 2010-11 season. Manny Harris was an athletic freak who and before Kenneth Faried, Harris was the player known as "Manimal" at least to fans in the Northeast Ohio area. During the season Harris averaged 5.9 points to go along with 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists. The following season Harris was waived during final roster cuts. He was cut due to the fact that he was unable to practice with the team because he suffered a freezer burn during wet sock cryotherapy. After clearing waivers he signed with the Cavaliers' D-League affiliate the Canton Charge and was eventually re-signed by the Cavaliers in March 2012 for the remainder of the season. Harris also showed flashes of potential as well by averaging 6.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.2 assists but was still on the fringes of the roster. Harris was waived following the end of the season played briefly for the Los Angeles Lakers while playing for their D-League affiliate the Los Angeles D-Fenders. He has also played overseas for Turk Telekom, NSK Eskisehir Basket and Anhui Wenyi. He is now playing for the Texas Legends, the D-League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks, and has been called up by the Mavericks as well.
Another athletic force was Christian Eyenga, who finished eighth overall in games played for the Cavaliers during the 2010-11 season. Eyenga spent a lot of his time in both Cleveland with the Cavaliers and the then D-League affiliate for Cleveland with the Erie BayHawks during his first season with the club. In his forty-four games played he averaged 6.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.8 assists with Cleveland. He only played six games for Cleveland the following season before being traded along with Ramon Sessions to the Los Angeles Lakers for a 2012 protected first-round pick, Luke Walton and Jason Kapono. In August 2012 he was traded and eventually waived by the Orlando Magic. After being waived by Orlando he was drafted by the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League. Eyenga asked to be waived by the Legends in order to play overseas in China for Shanxi Zhongyu. After playing for Shanxi Zhongyu for a month he rejoined the Legends. After his time with the Legends he moved on to Poland to play for Stelmet Zielona Góra. In August 2014 he signed with Polish club Turów Zgorzelec and was waived a month later. He then signed with Pallacanestro Varese of Lega Basket Serie A. In July 2015 he signed with Dinamo Sassari for the 2015-16 season but left the club in February 2016 and signed with Auxilium CUS Torino for the rest of the 2015-16 season. Then on August 2016 he re-signed with Pallacanestro Varese for the 2016-17 season and currently averages 12.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists.
A common theme with this Cavaliers team was players that had a ton of athletic potential that either play overseas or in the NBA D-League. Alonzo Gee is one of those players. After trying to land a spot with the San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards, the Austin Toros product found a home in Cleveland for the 2010-11 season and averaged 7.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in just 24.3 minutes per game. The Cavaliers had thought they found a diamond in the rough with Gee and doubled down on that belief the following season when Gee averaged 10.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists as a starter and off the bench for Cleveland. The 2012-13 season was the beginning of the end for Gee in Cleveland, though as the small forward did not grow at all and produce at a higher level for the Cavaliers as he started all 81 games he played in that season. The following season the team traded for small forward Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls and cut down on Gee's minutes. The following season, LeBron James wrote his famous Sports Illustrated piece that triggered the Cavaliers to trade Gee to the New Orleans Pelicans for future draft considerations. Four days later, the Pelicans traded Alonzo Gee to the Houston Rockets and then in Sept. 2014 he was traded along with Scotty Hopson to the Sacramento Kings for Jason Terry and two second- round picks; eight days later he was waived by Sacramento and soon after he signed with the Denver Nuggets. But, this was not the end of the myriad of trades for Gee as he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in Feb. 2015. He then re-signed with New Orleans the following season but suffered a complete rupture of the right proximal rectus femoris on March 28 against the New York Knicks, ruling him out for the remainder of the year. He then re-signed with the Pelicans the following season but was waived in Oct. 2016. He then signed with the Denver Nuggets in 2016 for a second stint with the team. He was waived in Jan. 2017 but re-signed with the team on a 10-day contract which the Nuggets allowed to expire. He is currently a free agent.
The next player who was a remnant of the first LeBron James era was Jamario Moon, who played forty games for the team during the 2010-11 season. During the season Moon averaged 4.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists until he was traded along with Mo Williams to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis and the Clippers 2011 unprotected first-round pick, which became Kyrie Irving. After finishing the season with the Clippers he signed with the NBA D-League's Los Angeles D-Fenders and in April 2012 was signed by the Charlotte Bobcats but was waived in July that year. He was then re-acquired by the D-Fenders, waived, re-acquired again in 2013 and then left the team in early January 2014. Moon headed overseas for a bit and signed with Euroleague team Olympiacos for the remainder of their 2013-14 season and was released March 2014. He then signed with Guaros de Lara of the Liga Profesional de Baloncesto. He was then re-acquired by the Los Angeles D-Fenders, waived and then returned to Guaros de Lara. He was then waived by the club on February 26, 2015. He is currently a free agent.
For the 2010-11 season, the player with the eleventh most played games was Joey Graham, who played one year with the club and averaged 5.2 points and 2.2 rebounds. After being waived by the Cavaliers in December 2011, Graham joined the NBA D-League's Erie Bayhawks and was picked up by Puerto Rican team Mets de Guaynabo of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional. In 2013, he signed with Capitanes de Arecibo and then returned to Mets de Guaynabo in the same year. He is now a free agent.
After Graham, the player who logged the most games was Samardo Samuels with 39 games played. He averaged 7.8 points and 3.3 rebounds during the 2010-11 season for the Cavaliers. Samuels also started in place of Antawn Jamison for a game on March 2, 2011, and finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds. He played with the Cavaliers until the 2012-13 season, hopping between the team and both the Erie BayHawks and the Canton Charge until he was waived and then acquired by the Reno Bighorns. In 2013, he signed with Israeli club Hapoel Jerusalem for the remainder of the 2012-13 season for the club. After the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, Samuels signed with Emporio Armani Milano on a two-year deal. In July 2015, he signed a two-year deal with FC Barcelona Lassa and in September of that year he was sidelined for six weeks with a hand injury; on August 16, 2016, he parted ways with the team. A few days later, he signed with the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association and still plays for them. He has an average of 20.2 points and 7.5 rebounds with the Chinese club.
Another fan favorite who was part of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers team was Mo Williams. In his thirty-six games with Cleveland that season Williams averaged 13.3 points, 7.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds before he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers along with Jamario Moon for Baron Davis and the Clippers' unprotected 2011 first-round pick. He then finished the season with the Clippers and was relegated to the bench the following season as a sixth man for the Clippers after the team acquired Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups. In June 2012, Mo Williams was traded back to his former team, the Utah Jazz for the 2012-13 season. The following season Williams signed with the Portland Trailblazers to serve primarily as a backup for Damian Lillard. The following season he signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves but was then traded to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Gary Neal and a second round pick at around the trade deadline. On July 2015 Williams returned to Cleveland to serve as a backup point guard behind Matthew Dellavedova while Kyrie Irving recovered from his surgery after the 2015 NBA Finals. During the season, he exercised his player option deciding that the 2016-17 season would be his last in the NBA. But, the Cavaliers won the NBA Championship that summer and Williams decided to retire afterwards. Then Williams came out of retirement but refused to join the club, opting to have surgery performed on his left knee. This made Williams a trade asset for the Cavaliers and he was traded along with Mike Dunleavy and a future first round pick for Kyle Korver on January 7, 2017. He was then shipped to the Denver Nuggets for cash considerations the next day and was immediately waved. Two days later he was claimed by the Philadelphia 76ers but was again immediately waved. He was then again claimed by the Nuggets and once again waived. He is currently a free agent and has not played basketball this season.
One of the biggest fan favorite's in franchise history, Anderson Varejao, was a key member of the 2010-11 squad until the team lost him to a torn tendon in January of 2011. While healthy Varejao averaged 9.1 points and 9.1 rebounds and was a consistent rebounding threat for the team. Up until 2016, Varejao, also known as Wild Thing, played his entire career with the Cavaliers until he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers along with a future first-round pick for a future second round pick. This move was done to acquire Channing Frye and to save money on a team that was strapped with heavy contracts. After he was traded to Portland Varejao was immediately waved and he then signed with the Golden State Warriors, arguably Cleveland's biggest rival. Cleveland felt betrayed by Varejao but the betrayal hit full force as Varejao, a player notorious for flopping, was up to his old tricks in the 2016 NBA Finals against his former squad. Varejao then re-signed with the Warriors for the 2016-17 season but was waived in February of 2017. He is currently a free agent.
The final player to play meaningful minutes for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2010-11 season was Baron Davis, who was acquired mid-season in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. Davis only played fifteen games with the Cavaliers but averaged 13.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.4 rebounds. The biggest game of Davis' Cavaliers career was when he helped the team upset LeBron James and the Miami Heat 102-90, which was a small victory for Cavaliers fans in a miserable season. After the 2010-11 season, the Cavaliers waived Davis via the amnesty clause due to the fact the team was primed for the future with point guard Kyrie Irving. After being waived by Cleveland Davis signed a one-year contract with the New York Knicks in December 2011. He did not make his debut with the Knicks until February 2012 due to a herniated disk in his back and eventually took over for Jeremy Lin after Lin was lost for the season. But in Game 4 in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs Davis injured his right knee coming down the court and it was revealed he partially tore his patellar tendon and completely tore his ACL and MCL. Davis has been rehabbing and trying to make a comeback in the NBA but no team has expressed interest in the now 37-year-old point guard.
After Davis, the final four players on the Cavaliers' roster for the 2010-11 season made minor contributions. The first player was Jawad Williams who averaged 4.0 points and 1.8 rebounds for the team during his short tenure that season before being waived in December 2010. Williams went on to play for numerous teams overseas and currently plays for Italian team Pallacanestro Reggiana of Lega Basket Serie A. Luke Harangody was another player who saw minutes with the team during the 2010-11 season and played with the team until he was waived in November 2012. After being waived, Harangody bounced around the D-League and overseas and now plays for the Turkish club Darüssafaka Dogus Istanbul where he averages 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds. Leon Powe played 14 games for the Cavaliers and averaged 5.0 points and 2.7 rebounds before being waived by the team. Powe was then picked up by the Memphis Grizzlies for the remainder of the 2010-11 season and is now retired from basketball. Finally, the last player to play minutes for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2010-11 season was Semih Erden. Erden played with the team until 2012 where he returned overseas to play for various teams. The last team he played for was Darüssafaka Dogus Istanbul and was waived by the club on February 6, 2017. He is currently a free agent.
The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers were a team that will forever live on in infamy. Besides the 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers, no other team has lost as many games as the Cavaliers in a single season. The team hit rock bottom but through a trade with the Clippers and some lottery magic they were able to land Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, two key members of the current NBA World Champions. After being a perennial bottom feeder for a few years LeBron James returned to the team and now the Cavaliers are the favorite to reach the NBA Finals for the third year in a row. I have lived in Northeast Ohio for nearly 15 years and have been a fan of the Cavaliers for more than 20 and these last few seasons have been the time of my life as a basketball fan. But, I still do not forget where the team came from to get to this point and it makes me appreciate where we are even more. Fun times in Cleveland are back again and the Cavaliers hitting rock bottom seems like a distant memory.