Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)

International Players, 2023-24 Season

Tristan ThompsonForward / CenterCanada2023-24Brampton, Canada

Cleveland Cavaliers Team History

The Cleveland Cavaliers, established in 1970, have a rich history intertwined with the NBA‘s evolution. While they may not have boasted the most championships, they’ve consistently displayed a knack for scouting international talent, enriching their roster with diverse skill sets. This tradition traces back to the early 2000s when the Cavaliers signed Žydrūnas Ilgauskas, a Lithuanian center whose impact was felt immediately. Ilgauskas, affectionately known as “Big Z,” spent 12 seasons with the Cavaliers, becoming one of the franchise’s all-time leaders in points, rebounds, and blocks. His tenure marked the beginning of the Cavaliers’ affinity for international stars.

In 2011, the Cavaliers continued their international recruitment with the drafting of Tristan Thompson from Canada. Thompson’s relentless work ethic and defensive prowess complemented the Cavaliers’ roster during their successful runs to the NBA Finals in 2015 and 2016. Additionally, the Cavaliers strategically tapped into the talent pool in Australia, acquiring Matthew Dellavedova. Dellavedova’s tenacity and playmaking skills provided crucial support off the bench during the Cavaliers’ championship-winning campaign in 2016. These international additions showcased the team’s commitment to leveraging global talent for on-court success.

More recently, the Cavaliers have maintained their tradition of embracing international players by drafting Isaac Okoro from Nigeria in 2020. Okoro’s athleticism and defensive versatility offer promising potential for the team’s future. This continued integration of international talent not only enhances the Cavaliers’ competitiveness but also underscores their recognition of basketball as a global sport. As the NBA landscape continues to evolve, the Cavaliers remain at the forefront of embracing diversity and talent from around the world, ensuring their legacy as a team with a truly global outlook.