The Cleveland Cavaliers need to find a starting small forward of the future. That player needs to be young enough to grow with this core. They need to be good enough defensively to help Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell with perimeter matchups. They also have to be a good, if not great, 3-point shooter.
That’s quite the shopping list, especially given that they have very few assets to use to acquire such a player. They will try to find someone on the free agent market, but that combination of age and two-way ability is going to be out of their price range. They aren’t going to have a high draft pick for the rest of this core’s run.
That means to find that small forward, they probably have to move Jarrett Allen. That’s a tough pill to swallow; Allen has been a core piece of what the Cavaliers have built, an All-Defense candidate and an All-Star in 2021-22. Yet he also isn’t enough on his own to convince a team to give up their own valuable two-way forward without the right motivation.
How do the Cavaliers convince a team to play ball?
Desperation greases stuck wheels, however, and the New Orleans Pelicans are reportedly desperate to trade for a top-three pick in order to select point guard Scoot Henderson. That means trading with either the Charlotte Hornets or Portland Trail Blazers. Suddenly the opening for Cleveland starts to take shape.
Can they leap into a blockbuster trade and both help make it happen and walk away with their small forward of the future? Let’s build such a deal and see if it works for all three parties.