3 trades for Cavaliers to send Jarrett Allen to Charlotte

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Kelly Oubre Jr., Charlotte Hornets. Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images /

Trade No. 3: Sign and Trade Collector

The biggest restricting factor in a sign-and-trade is that it hard caps a team at the first tax apron, usually a few million over the luxury tax line. A famous example of this coming into play was when the Golden State Warriors took back D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade in 2019, forcing them to offload Andre Iguodala and spend very judiciously to fill out a roster without hitting that apron, which cannot be exceeded for any reason.

The Cavaliers don’t have to worry about triggering that hard cap, as it’s already in place; by using the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception to sign Georges Niang they hard-capped themselves; they did the same by using the Bi-Annual Exception on Ty Jerome. No matter what happens, they already need to avoid that first tax apron.

If they’re already fine with the hard cap, then perhaps they go big and target two Charlotte Hornets free agents. In addition to P.J. Washington, Kelly Oubre Jr. is languishing in free agency without a new contract or an obvious landing spot. What if the Cavs sign Washington to that deal starting at $16 million, and Oubre to a three-year, $39 million contract starting at $11.5 million? Such a crazy construction could look something like this:

On the one hand, the Hornets getting back an All-Defense caliber center for two players they didn’t even have under contract is ludicrous. On the other, the Cavaliers have no other viable path to adding two such players at the same time, and this would give them a pair of frontcourt players with real size and two-way ability.

Oubre’s breakout year last season was largely empty calories, and the NBA at large has appeared to notice that and hasn’t handed him a lucrative contract. Even so, he is an above-average shooter and long-limbed defender who would be a positive addition to the Cavaliers’ rotation. The Cavs would also be signing him at a discount to what he was expected to make, which is always a shrewd move.

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None of these three trades are crazy, but none of them are sure things, either. The second trade, where the Cavaliers get back a fringe All-Star player in Miles Bridges as well as P.J. Washington, is the best combination of value and upside. It’s unlikely that Cleveland makes any of these deals, but these all illustrate one way to use Allen to get back multiple players.