Trade No. 3: Jarrett Allen for two 3-and-D wings
The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the offseason with four surefire starters, two elite guards and two incredible defensive bigs. The hole was at small forward, and even after a busy summer the Cavs didn’t necessarily add a true 3-and-D small forward; they’ll be starting 6’5″ Max Strus at the spot.
This trade idea, pitched by the popular trade site Fanspo, would see the Cavs address that exact position. Turning Allen into two wings would give the Cavaliers five clear-cut starters who fit their positions, and would space the court around Evan Mobley in the middle. Here’s what the deal, proposed prior to the NBA Draft and free agency, would look like:
A few pieces would need to be swapped around; let’s assume the Mavericks send O-Max Prosper to the Nets instead, the Nets send Dariq Whitehead to the Cavs, and it’s Dean Wade headed to Dallas. The primary components of the deal work out, which for the Cavs’ purposes means adding Royce O’Neale and Dorian Finney-Smith to the rotation.
This deal would instantly give the Cavaliers a more balanced starting lineup, with both O’Neale and Finney-Smith capable of playing the 3 or the 4. Neither are true movement shooters or absolutely elite from outside, but both are very capable shooters. On defense, O’Neale is a solid option and Finney-Smith is elite, giving the Cavs plenty of defensive versatility.
The Cavs lose out on a high-end player for two role players here, and generally, that’s the wrong direction for a team to go in a deal. The addition of Whitehead tips the scale, as he has star upside and could grow to replace one of the two forwards down the road. It’s a close one, but the Cavs should feel good about making this deal if it were on the table.