Grade the Trade: Zach Lowe says Cavaliers should add a unicorn

Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images
Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards and Lamar Stevens, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

Laying out a trade for a unicorn

The term “unicorn” has been tossed around a bit too often in recent years, but it first came into popular use with the 2015 NBA Draft. Well, the word actually goes back a couple of thousand years to the Latin translation of the Bible, but it entered NBA parlance much more recently. It came to mean a big man who could not only protect the rim like an elite center but shoot the ball like a wing.

The first player to bear this label? Kristaps Porzingis, the Latvian big selected fourth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. Last season he was finally healthy and displayed just what a unique player he is, scoring 23.2 points per game, shooting 38.5 percent on 5.5 3-pointers per game, while also blocking 1.5 shots per game. In other words, a unicorn.

There is chatter that he could opt into his $36 million player option for next season and look to sign an extension based on that, and with the Washington Wizards almost certainly heading for a rebuild, they could look to flip the 27-year-old big for a younger option in Jarrett Allen. Here’s what a deal could look like:

The Wizards get a young All-Star center they can either build around or move on to another team. He’s young enough that he could last through a multi-year rebuild and help to elevate their defense when they are ready to make a run. Porzingis is a really talented player, but this better fits their timeline. Adding in Cedi Osman and Sam Merrill just barely makes the salary-matching work, which will lower the Wizards’ salary, another boon.

Is this a deal the Cavaliers should consider?