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3News exclusive: NBA commissioner Adam Silver says Cleveland Cavaliers are becoming a Super Team 'the right way'

Speaking to 3News' Jim Donovan, NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed the Cleveland Cavaliers' recent rise.

CLEVELAND — You can't tell the story of "Super Teams" in the NBA without mentioning Cleveland.

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After all, it was LeBron James' departure from the Cavaliers in 2010 that helped create what many consider to be the league's first Super Team with the Miami Heat, as he teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. And four years later, James returned to Cleveland to form another Super Team alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

But while Super Teams in the NBA have often been associated with free agency, the league's commissioner, Adam Silver, noted that's necessarily the case. And he pointed to the current state of the Cavs as proof that there are more ways than one to build a budding powerhouse in the NBA.

"The term 'Super Team' can have a positive connotation or it can have a negative one," Silver told 3News' Jim Donovan ahead of the upcoming NBA All-Star Weekend in Cleveland. "The negative one is where you have players coming together for the sole purpose of winning a championship, particularly later in their career. And I think, on the other hand, you have super teams -- and I think Cleveland is becoming one -- where they’re constructed in just the right way. Where there’s a recognition that this is a team sport, that in order to truly win championships, to compete at the highest level, all those players have to come together and to sort of feed off each other.

"And that’s what makes for great teams and makes for great basketball. I love the trend we’re seeing in the league right now.”

Silver's comment regarding Cleveland would have been tough to have fathomed a little more than three years ago, when the NBA first announced that the city would be hosting the 2022 All-Star Game. At the announcement -- which occurred just months after James left the Cavs to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers -- the team's chairman, Dan Gilbert, stated his desire for Cleveland to have at least one representative in the game.

"Hopefully we'll have a player or two in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game," Gilbert said at the press conference, which was held on Nov. 1, 2018. "That gives us a few years to do that, but we believe."

As it turns out, Gilbert's comment proved prophetic, as Cleveland will have not just one, but two representatives in this year's All-Star Game. After Cavs point guard Darius Garland was initially selected as a reserve, Silver named Jarrett Allen as an injury replacement for guard James Harden earlier this week.

Cleveland's representation in this year's All-Star Game comes amid a season in which the Cavs have emerged as one of the league's most promising young teams. At 35-23, Cleveland currently sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and appears poised to make its first playoff appearance since 2018.

The Cavs' resurgence has been a welcome one for Silver, as the league prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary at All-Star Weekend. In many ways, Cleveland's success isn't just an encouraging sign for the Cavs, but also other teams across the NBA who are hoping to make a similar leap.

"To see a young team that is so excited to play together, to play just a great style of basketball, [fourth] place in the Eastern Conference now, I think it’s really fortunate that this has all come together for this All-Star," Silver said. "That’s something we really couldn’t have planned. It’s remarkable. While we’re celebrating the All-Stars and the 75 greatest, it’s also a reminder too of just how high caliber the game is and the quality of play throughout the league -- not just in Cleveland, but it’s just enormous talent we’re seeing in the young players right now.”

You can watch Jim Donovan's full interview with Silver in the video player below.

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