Grade the Trade: Cavaliers swap center for forward in midseason deal

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 4
Cleveland Cavaliers
Jerami Grant, Portland Trail Blazers. Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images /

Do the Blazers accept this trade?

The Portland Trail Blazers clearly value Jerami Grant, trading for him last offseason and giving him a large new contract this summer even in the midst of uncertainty with Damian Lillard. In fact, they announced the deal with Grant on the first day of NBA Free Agency, only for Lillard to make his trade request the following morning.

That may mean that Portland wants to keep Grant around as they retool, the veteran star to shoulder the load while the young guards develop into their roles. There is certainly some merit to that approach, but Grant will also turn 30 before the end of the season. If Portland wants to maximize the next couple of seasons, they should probably look to get younger while losing enough to pick another couple of top picks.

That means Grant, on an ascending contract paying him over $30 million per season well into his 30s, should be a prime candidate to be moved. If they get to that point, they may want to go after draft capital. The other option, though, is providing Portland with the solution at center they haven’t had for years.

Allen is still only 25 years old and could grow with their young core. Under contract for three more seasons at just $20 million per year, he won’t be a major hindrance to their cap space plans in future years, and he can provide a defensive foundation to a team that has found a collection of offense-first backcourt players.

Isaac Okoro helps to balance the salaries and gives them a backcourt defender to work into the rotation, a replacement of sorts for Gary Payton II. He and Matisse Thybulle would give the Blazers options defensively on the perimeter, and as he hits restricted free agency they can decide whether to bring him back or let him walk.