Jarrett Allen did not have a great postseason for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was surely not the only one, as Cleveland lost in five games to the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, but Allen was a player who was disappointing.
He had 9.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest in that series, which was a decrease from his regular season splits, and Allen had four and six-point outings in the deciding Game 5 and in Game 3.
He was again not the only Cavalier who was not up to par in the series, as Evan Mobley was somewhat underwhelming offensively, and Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell were not consistent enough. Mitchell, in particular, didn’t play how one would’ve expected him in the final three games.
Allen’s play was really concerning, though. He and Mobley had issues with New York’s physicality, and Allen had issues dealing with Mitchell Robinson on the glass, who was a thorn in Cleveland’s side all series with his offensive rebounding. Allen seemed to be deterred at times offensively with Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein’s length and strength inside as well.
Now, other Knicks got in on the act when it came to offensive rebounds, too, with Josh Hart being a heck of a presence for a wing in the series. Allen and Mobley’s defensive workload had to be acknowledged, too, and for the season overall, to that point. Those two were such instrumental players for Cleveland on the defensive end in the regular season and in the teams’ defensive turnaround in the past two seasons, also, so there has to be some slack given for some defensive/rebounding mishaps in the playoffs.
All of that being said, with Allen, it’s reasonable to have reservations about his long term viability with this iteration of the Cavaliers.
Offensively, him and Mobley are not three-point shooters currently, and Allen himself is more limited on that end, which is fair to state. With those caveats, and based on how the postseason went and to help open up offense, a significant contingent of Cavs fans seem to be in favor of Cleveland potentially trading Allen sooner rather than later.
That’s maybe early at this stage, but there are questions involving Allen as a core member of this group.
The Allen trade suggestions may be premature at this point; having said that, questions will still remain for him with the Cavs looking onward.
Allen has been a crucial player for the Cavaliers since he was acquired early in the 2020-21 campaign via trade from the Brooklyn Nets. As we stated, he’s been one of the primary contributors for the Cavaliers defense, too, and he’s seemingly one of the key leaders for this Wine and Gold group.
His rim protection, paint deterrence, offensive paint play, screening and rebounding are not things one should take for granted. However, the concerns involving the Mobley-Allen pairing for the long term are not off-base, and throughout the offseason, the trade suggestions of Allen being moved for shooting are not going to go away from various outlets.
Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report recently suggested a deal where Allen and Isaac Okoro were moved to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Maxi Kleber, Reggie Bullock and the No. 10 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Another that was tossed out there recently was by Mike Lukas of the Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show, where Allen and Dean Wade were traded to Dallas for Kleber, Bullock and JaVale McGee.
Now, regardless of my thoughts on those deals, which would seem to be low-ball offers, the overaching points are valid, in plenty having a pessimistic view about if Allen can be a long term piece for the Cavs with Mobley.
Despite that, though, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com was right in suggesting that if Mobley’s offensive game can take a leap, that’d fully enable the Mobley-Allen pairing to work for the foreseeable future. Both are so impactful defensively, and Cleveland’s defense was far from its biggest issue in the playoffs.
Not to mention, if the Cavaliers are able to land quality shooting via free agency and/or in possible trades not involving their four best players, which seems still very doable, there’s plenty of reason to retain Allen.
But, to reiterate, while the conversation of Allen being potentially traded seems premature, and likely is, there’s little to suggest that talk is going to be quelled any time soon. We’ve got a ton of time to go in the offseason.