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Cavs championship roster: Where are they now?

Cavs championship roster: Where are they now?

When the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye at the trade deadline on February 8th, they trimmed the number of players left over from the 2015-2016 NBA champion Cavaliers to just four. Because of what they helped to accomplish, these players will forever be fan-favorites, no matter where they play. What are these champions doing now?

Matthew Dellavedova Steph Curry Movie

AP

Matthew Dellavedova

Rookie Cedi Osman has quite the cult following, but his avid fans are nothing compared to the devotion that “Outback Jesus” received during his time in Cleveland. Filling in for an injured Kyrie Irving during the 2014-2015 NBA Finals, Dellavedova played so hard he suffered severe dehydration and cramps, requiring an IV treatment.

His playing time wasn’t as large during the next season, but his energy off the bench was invaluable. Dellavadova was handsomely rewarded for his contributions when he signed a fully guaranteed four-year contract with the Milwaukee Bucks worth over $38 million. Through 37 games, he is averaging 4.4 points and 3.8 assists in 19 minutes per game, backup up starter Eric Bledsoe.

LeBron James Channing Frye

Getty Images/Jason Miller

Channing Frye

For really the first time as a Cavalier, Channing Frye was beginning to see significant playing time as he filled in for the injured Kevin Love. Otherwise, Frye was mostly a back-of-the-rotation player who played during garbage time. His invaluable contribution came off the court; he, along with his friend Richard Jefferson, was responsible for changing the locker room culture of the Cavs, improving morale, and helping the team to play better together. His expiring contract made him an appealing trade chip, and now he is providing veteran leadership for an extremely young Los Angeles Lakers team.

Kyrie Irving

After an emotional and straining offseason process, Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics because he wanted to “be the man”. Ironically, despite Gordon Hayward’s injury, Irving is averaging fewer points, assists, and shots taken than he did last season with Cleveland. Nonetheless, Boston is second in the Eastern Conference at 40-19, and look to challenge Cleveland in the playoffs.

Marcio Jose Sanchez | Associated Press

Richard Jefferson

Jefferson played a key role backing up LeBron James, as well as providing a low-pressure presence in the locker room, running the Road Trippin’ podcast with Channing Frye and Fox Sports Ohio’s Allie Clifton. His play took a hit last season, primarily due to his advancing age, and the Cavs felt like they wanted more production out of his roster spot, so they declined to re-sign Jefferson. He signed with the Denver Nuggets, and, much like Frye, is trying to show a young team the ropes.

Dahntay Jones

Jason Miller/Getty Images

Dahntay Jones

After signing with Cleveland for their 2015-2016 playoff run, Jones did the same thing in 2016-2017, although the end result was different. He remains a free agent at the age of 37, and doesn’t appear to have any immediate playing prospects. But, the Cavs do have one roster spot remaining…

Ron Schwane | AP

James Jones

Another veteran who didn’t play much, Jones was a three-point specialist and LeBron James’ “favorite player of all time”. He won three NBA titles with the Heat, so he knew how things were done. He retired after the 2016-2017 season and was immediately hired as the Phoenix Suns’ vice president of basketball operations.

USA TODAY Sports

Sasha Kaun

Kaun didn’t see any playing time during the 2015-2016 postseason, but he made history nonetheless; along with Timofey Mozgov, Kaun became the first Russian-born NBA player to win a championship. In need of cap space, the Cavs traded Kaun to the Philadelphia 76ers, who then waived him. Five days later, Kaun retired from professional basketball.

Getty Images

Jordan McRae

The Cavs waived McRae in order to make room for Deron Williams, whose time with Cleveland was a major disappointment. McRae was a favorite of Kyrie Irving, and the team’s handling of him may have contributed to Irving’s discontent. McRae did not find a new home in the NBA, instead opting to play in Europe, where he is currently injured.

Jesse D. Garrabrant l Getty Images

Timofey Mozgov

When Cleveland traded for Mozgov during the 2014-2015 season, no one knew quite what the Cavs were getting. Mozgov proved to be an important part of both Finals runs, although he played less in 2015-2016. The Cavs were unable to afford to keep him, as he signed a four-year $64 million contract with the Lakers. After one season in LA, Mozgov was traded to the Brooklyn Nets, where he is now a reserve big man.

iman shumpert

David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

Iman Shumpert

J.R. Smith was a throw-in so that the Cavs could acquire Shumpert, but three years later, Smith is the one still with the team. Touted as a three-and-D wing, Shumpert could neither score consistently nor stay healthy. Aside from a four-point play in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, Shumpert’s tenure with Cleveland was rather forgettable. After signing a four-year $40 million contract in 2016, Shumpert appeared to be constantly distracted by off-court interests, such as his rapping career. He was traded to the Sacramento Kings as part of a three-team deal that netted the Cavs George Hill and Rodney Hood and looks to contribute after he recovers from a foot injury.

Cavs Mo Williams Retirement

Jason Miller | Getty Images

Mo Williams

Williams made his homecoming a year after LeBron James, and through injuries, proved to be a capable backup to Kyrie Irving, along with Matthew Dellavedova. Originally traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Baron Davis and a first-round pick, Williams will be forever linked to Irving. After the 2015-2016 season, an odd situation developed, where Williams remained on the roster, but was not interested in playing and underwent surgery. He was eventually traded to the Hawks along with Mike Dunleavy Jr. in exchange for Kyle Korver. He was traded to, waived, signed, and waived again by the Nuggets and 76ers, and has not played a game since the Cavs won the championship in 2015-2016.

Looking back, it’s all the more the more incredible that Cleveland was able to come back from a 3-1 deficit to the Golden State Warriors and win their first NBA title, as the vast majority of these 11 players are either out of the league or not significant contributors on their new teams.  Cleveland appears to have a strong bench this season and looks to take back their place atop the NBA.

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