3 takeaways from Cavs’ involvement in James Harden trade

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Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers

Big Jarrett Allen, pictured here with the Brooklyn Nets, handles the ball. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Cavaliers were involved in a four-team trade centered on James Harden on Wednesday.

It was a bit of a shock that the Cleveland Cavaliers got involved in a blockbuster trade on Wednesday.

And they landed Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from the Brooklyn Nets out of that, which was a win, to say the least.

James Harden, who was a central part of trade rumors, has gotten his wish granted, and was dealt out of his Houston Rockets’ situation. Anyway, in terms of the reports I’m referring to, we’ll touch on those now.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, James Harden was reportedly dealt to the Brooklyn Nets, and Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs and four first-round picks will go to Houston. The Cavs were sent Allen and Prince, again, and their 2022 first via the Milwaukee Bucks is one of those picks sent to the Rockets. Cleveland reportedly sent a 2024 2 to Brooklyn as well, per Woj, and also as a later update, Houston sent Indy a 2023 2.

In regards to further reporting, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that the Indiana Pacers got involved, too, and Victor Oladipo was sent to Houston, and the Pacers were sent Caris LeVert. Charania also reported how the picks going to Houston were all unprotected (the Nets in 2022, 2024 and 2026, to go with Milwaukee 2022 via the Cavs), and that there were four unprotected first-round pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027).

And lastly, in what were essentially corresponding moves for the roster, Cleveland reportedly waived Yogi Ferrell, who was on a 10-day deal, and Thon Maker, per Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor.

From the Cavaliers’ side of things, though, what are a few things that jump out from their part in the deal, you ask? Let’s get into those.

Here, we’ll hit on three takeaways from the Cavs’ perspective from this deal.

The first has to do with Cleveland seemingly locking up their 5 position looking onward.

#1: Allen seemingly locks up the 5 position for the Cavs for years to come

The Cavaliers nabbing Jarrett Allen from the Nets looks to give them their 5 for the foreseeable future, looking ahead to after this season. Andre Drummond I would think for the time being will man the starting 5, so long as he’s with the Cavs, and Drummond been a big reason why Cleveland has shockingly had the league’s best defensive rating.

He’s had 18.0 points and a league-leading 15.1 rebounds per game, too, to go with 1.5 blocks per outing, and is tied for fifth iin the league in total steals, of which Larry Nance Jr. leads the league actually.

Albeit Drummond is set to be expiring, and he could potentially be moved by the trade deadline. But even if that’s not the case, Drummond’s 28.7 million expiring contract is again, set to be expiring after this season, and the Cavs could perhaps keep him through this season, then let him sign elsewhere.

And with Allen due to be a restricted free agent this offseason, I’d fully expect them to commit to him via long-term extension this summer, or if needed, potentially match offer sheets from other teams.

Allen is such a capable shot blocker that is currently putting up 1.6 blocks in 26.7 minutes per game, and is a heck of an athlete vertically, and is a gifted lob/rim-running threat that can slam home putback jams off of offensive rebounds at times, too.

There’s been some flashes in terms of post-ups as well, but overall, his finishing near the basket should provide similar rolling gravity vertically to Drummond, which should aid Cleveland’s shooters.

And though he hasn’t proven to be too much of a shooter from three-point range, and has only attempted six three-point attempts in the past two seasons (0 this season), Allen could have some stretch big potential, in theory. Him hitting 75.4 percent of his free throws this season is a positive, and he’ll occasionally hit some mid-range shots, more so via the short roll.

But to me, with Allen even in his fourth season, being still only 22 years old, with his promise and feel as a rim protector/rim-running 5, the Cavs will seemingly lock him up, and I’d expect, let Drummond walk at minimum this offseason, if he’s not traded by this year’s deadline.

Potentially learning some from Drummond could aid Allen in the short-term, though. Either way, Cavs general manager Koby Altman acquiring Allen and, Prince, who we’ll get into more in a bit here, was awesome for Cleveland’s future. I’d expect Allen to fit in well alongside guys such as Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman and others.

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