Grade the Trade: Cavaliers add 2 shooters in 3-team deal with Nets, Mavs

Cleveland Cavaliers, Jarrett Allen. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers, Jarrett Allen. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Dorian Finney-Smith, Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

Should the Cavs do it?

Trading the best player in the deal, it all comes down to if the Cavaliers should do this trade. Acquiring quality wing players during the offseason is clearly Cleveland’s top priority, and Finney-Smith and O’Neale have been previously linked to the team. JaVale McGee, a solid backup big man, fulfills another need on the Cavs’ offseason checklist but is unlikely to be a starter in the 2023-24 season.

At first glance, the Cavs appear to be on the losing end of this trade. While Allen had a disappointing series against the Knicks, his success during the regular season has played a major role in the Cavs’ rise to the upper half of the Eastern Conference. Defensively, Allen is an ideal complement to Evan Mobley and ranks among the league’s best in rim protection. However, in today’s NBA, starting two big men who lack shooting ability can hinder offensive spacing.

For the Cavaliers to feel comfortable with this trade, one of two things needs to happen. First, Evan Mobley would need to add some weight and become an elite defender against bigger centers. The starting lineup consisting of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’Neale, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Evan Mobley would only have a flaw if Mobley struggles against dominant interior players.

The other option for the Cavs to consider this trade would be if they plan to package the incoming first-round pick and Isaac Okoro for a floor-spacing rim protector. Both Finney-Smith and O’Neale are 30 years old, signaling the Cavs’ focus on immediate win-now mode, and the 21st overall pick is unlikely to make a significant contribution in the upcoming season.

Overall, Dallas and Brooklyn would benefit greatly from this trade and should explore it. For Cleveland, there could be more value in a Jarrett Allen trade elsewhere. In the event they do make a move like this one, other parts would have to fall into place for the best outcome.

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Trade Grade: C