Swapping Jarrett Allen out for a smaller player is a tradeoff, a move made with the hope that the loss in defense is more than made up for by an increase in spacing and offense. Evan Mobley’s rim protection and floor defense are Allen’s equal, but the big concern with such a change is the lack of size.
When the Cavaliers face a team like the Philadelphia 76ers, Mobley doesn’t have the heft to adequately bang with Joel Embiid inside, forcing a creative defensive scheme that will spring leaks elsewhere. Against the Milwaukee Bucks Mobley is well equipped to hang with Giannis Antetokounmpo, but that would mean placing a smaller player on Brook Lopez, who can punish them inside for layups and rebounds.
What if the Cavaliers could move Allen for a player with enough strength to take on those matchups but the shooting to still open up the offense? There aren’t a lot of players who fit that bill, but there is one playing for a team that has been struggling to find an elite pick-and-roll center for years. Here is what a trade with the Dallas Mavericks could look like:
The Mavericks can put Jarrett Allen at center ahead of raw rookie center Dereck Lively II, giving Lively time to develop and helping the Mavericks elevate their defense immediately with Allen in the paint. On offense, both Doncic and Kyrie Irving get to run actions with a hard screen-setter and high-gravity roll man, and Allen’s ability to finish at the rim is underrated. He perfectly fits the picture of what the Mavericks want at the 5.
Dallas also gets out of Richaun Holmes’ contract and can try to replace the newly-acquired Grant Williams with a combination of Josh Green, Derrick Jones Jr. and Olivier Maxcence-Prosper. This deal can’t be completed until later in the season when Williams becomes eligible to be moved, at which point the Mavericks may both see their defensive need for Allen and be confident in their plan to replace Williams.
If Dallas reaches out with this trade offer at the deadline, do the Cavaliers say yes?