With the recent signing of forward Kevin Love by the Miami Heat, every one of the Cleveland Cavaliers that won a championship in 2016 has gone their separate ways.
The influence of the championship Cavs goes far beyond making Finals history.
While several Cavs players made their way onto different rosters, some of the more seasoned veterans took up other roles once their NBA careers ended. Some players took up spots on various media platforms, started podcasts or found their way onto front office and coaching positions.
It’s been seven years since they first brought the Larry O’Brien trophy to the Land. Where are they now?
Love officially signed with the Heat on Sunday after completing a buyout from the Cavs just a few days before.
Though he hasn’t played a game for his new team yet, Love was raining down 3-point shots in his first practice on Monday.
Love made sure there was no love lost between him and the team he spent the last nine seasons with, posting a fiery message to his Twitter account once the buyout was completed.
“I’ll have more to say soon but want to get this off my chest,” Love wrote. “To the people of Cleveland and all of Ohio. I f**king LOVE you…and always will. Thank you for everything. More to come.”
Irving spent two seasons with the Boston Celtics and nearly four with the Brooklyn Nets after he was traded to the Celtics in 2017. He requested a trade in early February after 143 games played in Brooklyn, saying he planned to leave in the offseason if no deal was made.
The 30-year-old guard took up a spot next to Luka Doncic on the Dallas Mavericks after a blockbuster trade sent guard Spencer Dinwiddie, forward Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick and two second-rounders in 2027 and 2029. Irving earned 24 points, four rebounds and five assists in his first game with the Mavericks.
James is still in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform after he took his talents to Venice Beach in 2018.
The 38-year-old forward is averaging 30 points, 8.4 rebounds and seven assists in his 20th season in the league.
Love wrote an article on the legacy left behind by James in Cleveland just before the Akron-born forward broke the NBA scoring record set by center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“Those years LeBron had here in Cleveland, capped by a winning a championship, cemented his legacy,” Love wrote. “Naturally, the first one he got in Miami was a weight off his shoulders. The back-to-back titles solidified him and the Heat. It showed they were a dynasty before we saw those guys out in San Francisco, that’s a real powerful team.
“I feel that, and I think he would say the same, that 2016, especially in the manner that we won, and against the 73-9 team we beat and him being from Akron, it was definitely the most important one for him.”
Forward Richard Jefferson, who earned two starts for an injured Love in the 2016 Cavs championship series, became an analyst at ESPN. He takes up appearances on NBA Countdown, NBA Today, First Take, Get Up, SportsCenter and Hoop Streams, according to ESPN. He also serves as a game analyst for NBA on ESPN.
Jefferson became a referee for one day in 2022. He officiated the second quarter of a July matchup in the Summer League between the New York Knicks and the Portland Trail Blazers. The former Cavalier blew his first-ever call as the ball was tipped out of bounds by Knicks guard Miles McBride, earning him a chorus of boos from the Thomas & Mack Center crowd.
“It was an amazing experience,” Jefferson told ClutchPoints beat reporter Tomer Azarly in July. “What I learned in these five or six days of going to class and getting to know them, it’s about their mindset.”
After ending his 16-year NBA career, guard J.R. Smith enrolled in North Carolina A&T with a degree in liberal studies.
He documented his college journey on his Twitter account, from joining a study group for his African American Studies class to celebrating a 4.0 in his first college semester.
He also joined the school’s golf team as a walk-on.
Smith explained briefly about returning to school in an October interview with New Jersey monthly.
“Just self-worth,” Smith said. “Feeling like I still want to grow. I have so much to do as a person, in so many ways.
“I can get better. Because I’ll definitely be the first one to say I don’t know everything. And it’s tough when you retire from doing something you love for so long, and then you just can’t do it anymore, or you don’t want to do it anymore.”
From an NBA champion to NBA Executive of the Year.
Forward James Jones serves as the President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the Phoenix Suns. The three-season Cavs forward joined the organization as the Vice President of Basketball Operations in 2017 and became the team’s general manager in 2019.
“I am grateful for the privilege to work with and support the players, staff and employees of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury,” Jones said in a statement. “The collective efforts of our business and basketball operations have allowed us to provide an amazing atmosphere and best-in-class experience for our fans and community.
“I remain excited about and dedicated to driving success for our Teams on and off the court.”
The Suns nearly won a championship in 2021, pushing the Milwaukee Bucks to six games before Giannis Antetokounmpo won his first ring in front of an electric Fiserv Forum crowd.
Guard Mo Williams was named the head coach of the Jackson State University Tigers in March 2022.
A native of Jackson, Mississippi and a former player at Murrah High School, Williams took up the job after spending two seasons as the head coach at Alabama State University, according to the team’s website. Former Cavs guard Trey Johnson is the Associate Head Coach on Williams’s staff.
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The Tigers went 9-18 in Williams’s first season, earning a 5-2 home record and a win against his former team at Alabama State. Williams is 23-53 overall as a head coach, according to Basketball Reference.
He’s not done yet.
Guard Matthew Dellavedova is currently with the Sacramento Kings after he signed a one-year contract in July. He is averaging 1.4 points, 0.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game in 24 games. The 32-year-old guard last played for 47 seconds in an 11-point win by the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 14.
Dellavedova played in nearly three more seasons with the Cavaliers after signing a four-year, $38 million offer sheet with the Bucks in 2016, a deal the Cavaliers decided not to match. He played in 126 games for the Bucks and started in 57, averaging six points, 1.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
Forward Channing Frye became a member of Turner Sports after he decided to hang up his Cavs jersey in 2019. He became a co-host on the Road Trippin’ Show, a podcast featuring Jefferson and Spectrum SportsNet studio host Allie Clifton for NBA stories told directly by NBA players or personalities, according to the show’s description on Apple Podcasts.
Frye tried to make the most of his retirement, as Forbes Senior Contributor Sean Deveney wrote in February 2022.
“Now that I’m retired, I have an opportunity to try to make impacts in different areas that affected me when I was playing and try to be as authentic with these relationships or partnerships as possible,” Frye said. “And just hearing about Project Backboard with Mobile 1 and Tune Up and being at All-Star in Cleveland, especially being a basketball court—I think about how much I was on a basketball court. Right? That was just to go talk to my friends and shoot around and play 21.
“I know that a court is endless, has endless possibilities, that is only limited by imagination. You know, a court has been somewhere where, you know, I discovered who I am to push past myself. I’ve had some of the toughest conversations with myself on a court, and some of my happiest moments on a court.”
Forward Dahntay Jones is now an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The former Cavs forward reunited with head coach Tyronn Lue one year after Lue was hired on as a Clippers assistant in 2019. Jones was announced on the team’s staff along with former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, now-Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups, former Cavs head coach Larry Drew and former Chicago Bulls assistant Roy Rogers in 2020.