Skip to main content

Top 3 Worst Trades in Cavaliers History

The Cavaliers are coming out of their first NBA Championship in team history and look to dominate the NBA for years to come if they keep their current core. The Cavs have made some brilliant trades such as their deal of acquiring Kevin Love after drafting Andrew Wiggins.

But, they haven’t always been the best at acquiring talent. Before their NBA Championship, especially the early 80’s, the franchise was a laughing stock. Here are three of the worst trades in Cavalier history.

3. Trading away Jamal Crawford - 2000

Jamal Crawford Draft

During the 2000 draft, the Bulls had selected Chris Mihm with their First round pick. They immediately traded him to the Cavaliers for Jamal Crawford and cash. Chris Mihm averaged 7.1 points per game on 42 percent shooting and 5 rebounds in his 4 season stint with the Cavs. He played 5 more seasons in the NBA and unfortunately couldn’t stay healthy towards the end.

On the other side, Crawford didn’t really have his best years in Chicago but, in his last season with the Bulls, he averaged 17 points per game and 5 assists. He’s still playing today with the Clippers, has been named 6th Man of the Year three times and has averaged over 15 points per game for his career. The Cavaliers let the better player in this trade go and we will never know what would’ve happened if they kept him and let him team up with LeBron when they later drafted him in 2003.

Scroll to Continue


2. Cavaliers trade 1983 and 1986 first-round draft picks and F Bill Robinzine away - 1980

Photo by: Mike Powell/Getty Images

Photo by: Mike Powell/Getty Images

To start the reasoning of why this trade is one of the worst in franchise history, the NBA started began to impose a trade moratorium on the franchise, (meaning the franchise wasn’t allowed to make trades until further notice). When trading these two first round picks, the Cavs received Richard Washington and Jerome Whitehead.

Washington played 87 games for the Cavs he averaged 9 points and 5 rebound per games. Whitehead played 3 games and was released right after. Those two players that were drafted turned to be Derek Harper and Roy Tarpley. Harper played 12 seasons for the Mavericks, who drafted him and averaged 14.4 points on 47% shooting and 6 rebounds for them.

Tarpley had off the court issues and didn’t have a long career but, averaged a double-double in his 5 seasons with the Mavs (A lot more production than the two players who the Cavs received).

1. Cavaliers trade 1982 first-round draft choice and G Butch Lee to the Los Angeles Lakers for F Don Ford and Lakers' 1980 first-round pick

James Worthy Cleveland

The Cavs Foolishly gave up what would be their Number 1 overall pick over to the Lakers for a high draft pick. The Cavs went 15-67 that season and it doesn’t even matter who they received in this trade because that pick they traded turned into James Worthy. An idiotic move by the Cavs management to trade a top pick like that. They missed out on Worthy, who was a 7x All-Star, averaged 17 points on 52% shooting and 5 rebounds for his career, and eventually became a Hall of Famer. A true head-scratcher to this day.

Ted Stepien made a lot of bizarre roster decisions during his time as the owner but, this had to be the worst of them all.


Cleveland Cavaliers: Top 5 NBA Draft Mistakes