The NBA is in the thick of the offseason as Free Agency and Summer League approach. As peacetime continues, the Cleveland Cavaliers could use extra hands at the wing positions but might have to part with something valuable in return for an edge.
In the first round, New York’s Mitchell Robinson abused The Land’s interior protections so viciously that factions of the fan base have speculated if going in a separate direction is the right move. Evan Mobley has one season left before he earns eligibility to ask for an extension, and Donovan Mitchell is two years away from being allowed to use his player option. At this stage, time is more valuable than diamonds and gold.
The best movable asset the Cavaliers have is Jarrett Allen. His versatility as a big that can cover inside and out will keep teams interested in his services, despite no offer presently moving the front office, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
Allen did not play well in the postseason, as his scoring average dropped by nearly five points, and his field goal efficiency decreased by 3.3 percent while getting overpowered by Robinson and Co. Regardless, Allen is still a useful player and a solid locker-room presence.
Should the Cavaliers consider trading Jarrett Allen?
Focusing on a trade machine package with the Fro as the centerpiece could assist the San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans and Cavaliers in improving instantly. In a hypothetical three-team deal that Air-Alamo has sunk its jaws into, Allen would get shipped to NOLA in exchange for Jonas Valančiūnas going to San Antonio with Ricky Rubio. Zach Collins, Dyson Daniels, Kira Lewis Jr., and Trey Murphy III would parachute into Cleveland. Here’s what it looks like:
The Spurs get one of the strongest centers in the game with solid footwork and playmaking chops. Extending his deal so he can work as a security blanket next to Victor Wembanyama, as an approximation of Maurice Lucas in Portland shielding Bill Walton, would prevent the new #1 pick from catching doubles or any rival thinking of getting rough with him. “Ricky the Blonde” is older but in a decreased role and might still be serviceable as a third-string orchestrator or mock assistant coach.
New Orleans trades strength for versatility and gets a guy who matches the timeline of the Pelicans’ star players. Allen works well in man-to-man, the 2-3 zone, plus he can switch positions and harass ball handlers outside. The strongest centers are the ones that give him the most trouble to guard. On offense, he’s a vertical threat who was 13th in offensive rebounds in 2022-23.
What do the Cavaliers get in the trade?
For Cleveland, Collins and Lewis would have one year left on their contracts. Collins could earn time as a seventh or eighth man if he stays as healthy as last season. Lewis and Daniels could be the backup point guards by default if Raul Neto walks in Free Agency.
The prize for the Cavaliers in this exchange is Murphy. His employer has until Oct. 31 to exercise the club option it has on him for 2024-25, per Spotrac, making him have one of the top five friendliest team deals in the league.
Aside from that, Murphy is a darn good baller. He logged 14.5 points a night on 48.4 percent shooting and 40.6 percent efficiency behind the arc. His reliability in catch-and-shoot situations would make it harder for the opponent to double Darius Garland, Mobley or Mitchell too in the half-court. In transition, he could hurt rivals by getting down the floor quickly or as the trailer looking for the quick fire when the defense has over-committed to the ball handler.
To take pressure off the backcourt, Cleveland could have Murphy take the ball up so 10 eyes aren’t always on the guards. This would avoid the opponents sending traps at midcourt toward Garland and Mitchell too.
If the Cavaliers use Murphy as a high-volume screener, pick and pop could be a lethal option. Garland and Mitchell have explosive first steps, which would buy Murphy an extra moment as his defender recovers after the show.
And he’s not just a shooter. His relocation extends from the perimeter to the inside on curl cuts for quick finishes at the cup.
Defensively, Murphy has good instincts. His 6-foot-9 body and 7-foot-1 wingspan help make him havoc in the passing lanes and be a solid contributor in the back line. In block and steal Percentage, Murphy ranks in the 84th and 74th percentile for his position, per Cleaning the Glass, which assists in starting the break. The Cavaliers need as much help as possible there because it may not suit them to continue playing at the slowest pace in the league.
If it is time for a change and Allen is the odd man out, this return could be as good as it gets for the Cavaliers, and it’s a win for all sides.