LeBron James is playing in his fifth consecutive NBA Finals. That, we know. But what gets forgotten -- not in Cleveland, for sure -- is that this is the first Cavs team to make it out of the East since 2007. That team was (no surprise) led by LeBron, who propelled the Cavs to the Finals with a remarkable 48-point performance in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons (the Cavs finished off the series in six games). But what has happened to the rest of the players on that roster since? Below, a look at that squad, sorted by number of minutes played in the 2007 Finals, which ended in a sweep for the Spurs.
As a rookie drafted in the second round, Gibson was a key contributor in the 2007 playoff run, including a memorable 31-point performance in the series clincher against Detroit, sent the Cavs to the Finals. Nineteen of those points came in the fourth quarter, and he is remembered by a "Star Is Born" video on YouTube:
Gibson signed a five-year, $21 million contract with the Cavaliers in 2008, and played until 2013 (after LeBron had left for Miami). He is only 29 years old but recently told TMZ Sports he is pursuing his interests in poetry.
Pavlovic held out the summer after the 2007 Finals, eventually reaching a three-year, $13.7 million extension with the Cavs. In 2009, when Cleveland acquired Shaquille O'Neal from Phoenix, Pavlovic was a throw-in in the trade. He was subsequently bought out by the Suns and went on his path as an NBA journeyman, playing in Minnesota, Dallas, New Orleans, Boston and Portland. Since 2014, he's played for Partizan Belgrade in Serbia.
Gooden had a bit of a resurgence in the 2015 playoffs as a member of the Washington Wizards, especially in the first round against the Toronto Raptors when he was employed as a stretch four and even hit a couple of 3-pointers. If you think LeBron's supporting cast is underwhelming in this year's Finals, just remember that Gooden was one of the top three scorers on the team against the Spurs in 2007.
One of LeBron's favorite teammates, Ilgauskas followed James to Miami in the summer of 2010, but didn't cash in on his title pursuit when the Heat lost to the Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. Big Z retired and joined the Cavaliers as a special advisor in 2012. Ilgauskas had his jersey retired by the Cavs last year, and it turned out to be a bit of a news item because LeBron attended the ceremony as a member of the Heat.
After LeBron returned to Cleveland last summer, there were rumors flying around that Big Z might make a return at age 39, but his agent quickly shot those down.
Still a Cavalier! After LeBron's much-publicized homecoming letter announcing his return to Cleveland, he went to Brazil with Varejao to attend the World Cup. Varejao received a three-year, $30 million extension from the Cavaliers before the start of the season, despite being 32 years old with a history of injuries. He suffered a left Achilles tear in December and has been out since. There was some hope that perhaps he would return in the Finals, but that has also been shot down.
Before he joined the Cavs, Damon Jones was on the wrong end of a LeBron dunk:
He was traded to Milwaukee in 2008 in a multi-team deal that brought Mo Williams to Cleveland. Jones last played for the Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League in 2012 and joined the Cavs coaching staff in 2014 as a shooting consultant.
He is often seen arriving at the arena with LeBron and was last seen photobombing LeBron's family selfie after they swept the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals:
Marshall's most memorable moment came before he joined the Cavs, when he set an NBA record (tying Kobe Bryant) with 12 three-pointers in a game as a member of the Raptors:
Marshall retired after the 2009 season and has gotten into coaching, first as an assistant for George Washington, then the Maine Red Claws of the D-League before moving onto Rider University. He was just recently named an assistant coach for the University of Buffalo. Similar to his playing career, he's become quite a journeyman as an assistant head coach.
When Cavaliers fans look back at LeBron's first stint with Cleveland and all the poor free-agent signings and trades that were made, Hughes' five-year, $70 million deal in the summer of 2005 will always stand out. He was paid to be LeBron's No. 2, and never played like it.
Hughes was eventually traded to the Bulls in a deal that brought Ben Wallace and Joe Smith back to Cleveland in 2008. After stints in New York, Charlotte and Orlando, he retired in 2012.
His best years were the ones before he arrived in Cleveland, with the Wizards and Gilbert Arenas. In 2005, he made the NBA All-Defensive First Team.
Eric Snow started his career playing behind Gary Payton in Seattle, then was a bench player on the Allen Iverson 76ers teams before ending up in Cleveland to play with LeBron. Those are some pretty good front-row seats to watch some of the game's most memorable players go to work.
Snow retired after the 2008 season and is now an assistant coach at Florida Atlantic.
Ira Newble is my favorite former Cavalier to mention for no reason other than he represents just how random a collection of players the Cavs had, especially in '07. Newble was an assistant coach in the D-League, working with the Austin Spurs as recently as 2014.
Pollard got into broadcasting after retiring from the NBA, and he will be in an upcoming season of "Survivor."