Cavs: Evaluating the fit of Lauri Markkanen with Jarrett Allen

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Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls. Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Cleveland, Ohio is shaping up to be the land of the big men this NBA season.

Nearly a week ago now, a three-team trade went down that brought former Chicago Bull, Lauri Markkanen, onto the Cleveland Cavaliers roster, moved Larry Nance Jr. to the Portland Trail Blazers, and saw Chicago acquiring Derrick Jones Jr. along with a first-round pick from Portland, and a Cleveland second-round pick. Both picks are protected. As a side note, Cleveland rescinded former two-way player Jeremiah Martin’s rights, too.

With Markkanen joining the Cavs on a 4-year deal, along with a 5-year contract extension for Jarrett Allen, the selection of Evan Mobley in the 2021 draft, and an unexpected signing of Celtics’ fan favorite, Tacko Fall, not to mention the retention of Kevin Love and Dean Wade – Cleveland’s frontcourt is stacked.

With Fall though, that was a training camp deal, and Wade’s contract is non-guaranteed from here. With others in tow, we’ll have to see if he/Fall stick around, in fairness.

But with the recent moves in The Land, Cavs fans been pondering all the possible lineups involving these big men. Markkanen especially has been the topic of discussion recently, as his move to Cleveland was not something many of us expected. Lauri’s time in Chicago began on a high note, but recently he has experienced some stagnation.

Whether it be due to coaching troubles, injury woes, a lack of clarity on his role with the team, Markkanen could not seem to reclaim that spark of success with the Bulls. I believe a fresh start in Cleveland could be just what the Finnisher needs to regain that confidence and improve his game all around. General manager Koby Altman himself said the Cavs front office, per a team press release, believe the 24-year-old big man’s “best basketball is in front of him.”

It seems like the Cavs have secured their free agent target this offseason.

It is obvious to anyone that Lauri Markkanen is joining a Cleveland team with a solid rotation of bigs. Among those big men is Jarrett Allen, who recently re-signed with the Cavs on a 5-year, $100 million extension.

Given that Allen and the Cavs agreed on that contract extension, it would be safe to assume Cleveland plans to have him around for the long haul. With Allen’s effectiveness when it comes to rebounding and defense, paired with Markkanen’s shooting and spacing capabilities, Cleveland could have a very intriguing frontcourt on their hands. This piece will examine and evaluate the fit between those two bigs, who should get their share of playing time together.

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