Trade No. 4: Jarrett Allen for DeAndre Ayton
From one Ringer employee to another, Bill Simmons had a trade pitch of his own that he pitched on a podcast. The deal leaned into Cleveland wanting more offensive impact from the center position, and the Phoenix Suns wanting to move on from the mercurial Deandre Ayton.
It was a simple challenge trade: the Cavaliers would send Allen and Cedi Osman to the Suns, and in return, Phoenix would send the former No. 1 overall pick to Cleveland. With Osman now riding bulls and remembering the Alamo in San Antonio, let’s assume the Cavs would include Dean Wade or Ricky Rubio instead.
There is some logic to such a move. If the Cavaliers are down on Allen specifically after his tough playoff series against the Knicks, but still optimistic about pairing two bigs on the frontline, Ayton is one of the few centers in the league more talented than Allen to trade him for. Ayton’s offensive game is more versatile than Allen’s, and he can serve as a tertiary offensive scoring threat while still providing a solid defensive presence.
The problem is that Allen provides much more than a solid defensive presence: he’s one of the league’s best rim protectors, with the foot speed to defend in space. Ayton is a good option one-on-one against the league’s biggest centers, but his versatility is limited and his rim protection is vanilla. Allen is truly special in those areas.
It’s a reasonable trade, with two very talented centers at the same position being swapped for one another. When you factor in Ayton’s larger contract and the positive culture fit the Cavs known Allen to be, this deal doesn’t seem worth making. If the Cavs do move on from Allen, it should probably be for a wing or forward who spaces the court and gives the Cavs a different look.