3 early Cavaliers predictions for 2024 trade deadline

Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers
Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Prediction No. 1: Jarrett Allen is discussed but not traded

If Donovan Mitchell stays put, then Jarrett Allen is the largest domino with a chance to fall; that's not a reference to his prodigious height, but rather to his standing as one of the core four players this roster was built around. It's easy to forget that Allen made an All-Star Game two seasons ago.

Allen is the anchor of the Cavaliers' defense, and there is no question that he and Evan Mobley together reach a defensive height that they cannot reach apart. Allen's size and positioning inside make it possible for Mobley to be a dangerous roamer in space and a devastating weakside shot-blocker.

The issue is of course on offense, where both Mobley and Allen are purely interior scorers. Mobley floating to the corner doesn't worry defenses one bit, and he has decreased his already-low number of midrange jumpers. Both Allen and Mobley are gifted interior scorers, but when both are on the court it strangles Cleveland's offense. It's possible, if not likely, that the Cavs cannot reach their playoff ceiling with both Mobley and Allen in the starting lineup.

The Cavaliers see this, and while they still believe in the pairing, they will continue to ask hard questions about the future of the team. That will include real trade discussions with other teams about the possibility of trading Jarrett Allen. Could the Cavs get back a combo forward to pair with Mobley? Do they target 3-and-D help on the perimeter? Allen as a center won't fetch a return commensurate with his talent level, but the Cavaliers could get a better balance in their starting lineup and rotation from moving Allen.

Ultimately, however, the inability to gain more data on the Allen-Mobley pairing before the Trade Deadline (Mobley isn't expected back until sometime later in February at the earliest) and the belief in this team's defensive upside will stay the Cavaliers' hand. Jarrett Allen and all five of this team's starters will be staying put at this year's Trade Deadline.

dark. Next. Mitchell to Heat. Grade the Trade: Cavaliers deal Mitchell to Heat in blockbuster proposal