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 Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images /

Should the Cavaliers say yes to this trade?

Let’s evaluate this trade in two main parts. First, does this trade make on-court sense? Jarrett Allen is a crucial element to the defense the Cavaliers have built, and Porzingis probably doesn’t bring quite the same combination of rim protection and defense in space. Still, he is a really good rim protector, and paired with Evan Mobley the Cavs should still have a top-flight defense.

On offense is where things start to open up for Cleveland here. Porzingis can space the court, either spotting up or running pick-and-pop actions with Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell. His presence makes Mobley’s development as a shooter less of a pain point, or more easily allows them to put Isaac Okoro on the court to defend his butt off. His size allows him to bully opposing wings if a team tries to get away with putting a small on him. He’s a major offensive upgrade on Allen.

The other part to this trad,e however, is that Porzingis has spent much of his professional career injured. He and Allen have played in virtually the same number of career games despite Porzingis being drafted two seasons earlier. Sure, he was (mostly) healthy last season, but before that he hadn’t played in more than 57 games in a season since 2016-17. Can the Cavs commit to such a player?

The answer is probably yes. Porzingis is the ideal partner to a player like Evan Mobley at this point in his career, big enough to man the middle as Mobley’s body develops while stretching the court. The injury history is a concern, but Allen hasn’t exactly been an iron man, and there aren’t any debilitating injuries plaguing Porzingis.

The unicorn is worth the swing.

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Grade: B+