With a roster made up primarily of castoffs the Buffalo Braves got off on the right foot by beating the Cleveland Cavilers 107-92 at Buffalo’s Historic Aud. on October 14th. However, the Braves would drop their next nine games as they took on established NBA teams on the way to finishing in last place in the Atlantic Division with a typical expansion team record of 22-60, which was seven games better then the Cavaliers their partners in expansion.
Bob McAdoo sought and won early eligibility in the 1972 NBA draft. He was selected in the first round (second overall) by the Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers). McAdoo quickly became one of the NBA’s premier players. He won the 1973 NBA Rookie of the Year Award and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. He earned the first of three consecutive NBA scoring titles in only his second season.
His second season (1973 – 1974) remains the last time an NBA player has averaged both 30.0 points and 15.0 rebounds per game. McAdoo also led the NBA in field goal percentage in 1973 – 1974, shooting 54.7 percent. That year he enjoyed his first of five All-Star selections.
In 1974 – 1975, he was awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, averaging 34.5 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.12 blocks per game, while shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 80.5 percent from the free throw line.
Irv Levin who owned the Celtics wanted to move the historic franchise to California. However, the NBA would not allow him to take the cornerstone franchise out of Boston. NBA Lawyer David Stern would propose a novel comprise in which Levin and Brown swapped franchise with Levin taking over the Braves and moving them to San Diego. The Braves would go on to finish in fourth place with a 27-55 record, ironically playing their last game on April 9th in Boston. Owners would go on to vote 21-1 to approve the deal, and the braves move to San Diego. The deal also included a complicated seven player trade in which the Celtics acquired Tiny Archibald, Billy Knight, and Marvin Barnes. While the team formerly known as Braves received Freeman Williams, back-up center Kevin Kunnert, and power forwards Kermit Washington and Sidney Wicks. The team would not request a draft pick in the deal allowing the Celtics to retain the draft rights to Larry Bird.
The franchise began in Western New York as the Buffalo Braves, one of three NBA expansion franchises that began play in the 1970 – 1971 season, along with the Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers. They played their home games at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, along with another Buffalo team that would begin play that year, the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres.
Buffalo – San Diego – Los Angeles
1970 – Present / National Basketball Association
1984 – Present / Los Angeles Clippers
1978 – 1984 / San Diego Clippers
1970 – 1978 / Buffalo Braves
Braves – The Buffalo Braves were given an expansion team in 1970, and named their team after the strong history of aboriginals in the area.
NBA Championships 0
1999 – Present / Staples Center
1984 – 1999 / Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
1978 – 1984 / San Diego Sports Arena
1970 – 1978 / Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
2014 – Present / Steve Balmer
1981 – 2014 / Donald Sterling
1978 – 1981 / Irv Levin
1976 – 1978 / John Y. Brown, Jr.
1970 – 1976 / Paul Snyder
*Blue is this team’s history