The NBA is a black and white league, where you can take everyone at their word and transactions are cut-and-dry. Therefore, it's easy to make a definitive statement about whether or not a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers will trade one of their oft-rumored trade candidates:
The Cavaliers are not going to trade Jarrett Allen. Unless they are. But they won't....up until they do.
Alright, removing the sarcasm filter for the remainder of this piece, it's been difficult to keep up with the rumors around former All-Star center Jarrett Allen. The team has outwardly expressed their commitment to Allen and to this four-player core, not only verbally but in the volume of minutes they play and how often the Cavs close with their two-big lineup in the face of league trends.
On the other hand, each transaction cycle there is reporting that the Cavaliers are at least taking calls on a potential Allen trade. "Taking calls" could mean anything, and savvy front offices will discuss any player in a deal, but the offensive limitations of pairing two non-shooting bigs is a reasonable foudnation for considering potential moves.
Will the Cavaliers trade Jarrett Allen?
Most of the rumors come via hearsay or through a multi-step game of telephone, but a respected NBA Insider recently weighed in. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype is one of the league's more plugged-in reporters, often publishing rumors that end up coming to fruition. "Shams" and "Woj" may lead the headlines, but guys like Jake Fischer and Michael Scotto are not far behind.
Scotto recently pooled his reporting on trade rumors into one piece, walking through each team in the league and identifying their top trade candidates. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, he had a lot to say.
He shared that rival executives are "monitoring Donovan Mitchell's happiness" which is both true and not much news, as rival executives should be keeping tabs on every star player. He pointed to Isaac Okoro as a player whose future is up-in-the-air.
He also reported an interesting reality for a pair of players who are often included in trade rumors for the Cavaliers: Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert.
LeVert is an interesting situation, a player whose best fit is likely on a different team but who nonetheless plays an important role as Cleveland's Sixth Man and fill-in when Darius Garland or Donovan Mitchell miss time. Even so, trading LeVert doesn't fundamentally change the team.
Trading Jarrett Allen would. This group found its success on the back of two-big lineups (and occasionally three bigs with Lauri Markkanen at the 3 that first season) and their defense is not the same when Allen misses time. Would the Cavs really move on from Allen?
Here is what Scotto had to say: "Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, whose names came up in trade chatter last season, are players the Cavaliers want to keep, barring a trade that further moves the needle towards title contention for Cleveland."
Parsing through that statement seems quite clear. The Cavaliers are not motivated to trade Jarrett Allen (or LeVert) simply to change what they have in place; they like the fit of their stars and aren't going to sell Allen at a discount simply to get a more balanced lineup.
With that being said, they aren't closed to trading Allen, either. If a trade comes available for them to become clearly better, Allen is on the table to be included in such a trade. In fact, given the Cavs' lack of assets after the Mitchell and LeVert trades, he would almost certainly have to be part of any major move the team makes.
There are times when the Cavaliers' offense locks up, when the outside shots aren't falling and the guards can't create in the paint because it's clogged with defenders unafraid of Allen and Mobley hitting shots. On those nights it's easy to declare that the team needs to break the two up, but the Cavaliers seem focused on a more patient, long-range view.
Another disappointing playoff exit may change the tune for the Cavs' front office, but at least as far as this year's Trade Deadline is concerned, don't expect Jarrett Allen to be shopped around. If the right kind of deal is proposed? The Cavs will think about it. Otherwise, Cleveland will continue to lean on its twin towers for at least a few months more.