Cleveland Owner Ted Stepien Sells Franchise

May 09, 1983

Illinois -- Former Cleveland owner Ted Stepien who acquired the Cavaliers in 1980 has sold the franchise to Gordon and George Gund.

Stepien was viewed by many NBA insiders as a dismal owner whose moves brought raised eyebrows and awful results on the basketball court. One of his most noticeable actions was his constant trading of several years worth of draft picks for what many would call substandard talent. Seeing that his actions were crippling the franchise's future, the NBA passed a rule that no NBA team can trade away first round picks in consecutive years.

With the team’s attendance down to an average of nearly 4,000 a game, the vast money the franchise was losing and Stepien's threat to move the team to Toronto, the league forced Stepien's hand into selling the team. In came local brothers Gordon and George Gund who bought the fledging franchise for 20 million. NBA Owners devised a plan to recoup the Cavaliers first round draft picks for the next four years. In return the Gund Brothers paid an undisclosed amount to recover the first round choices the previous ownership had traded away.

Sources: New York Times,NBA.com