Monday night has the potential to be a significant milestone in the Cleveland Cavaliers' season. They host the white-hot LA Clippers in a showdown between two of the best teams over the last six weeks. In addition, Evan Mobley could be returning after missing six weeks with knee surgery to clean up some loose bodies.
Heading into the season, expectations for Mobley were sky-high. Already a First Team All-Defense player as a sophomore last season, if Mobley took an offensive step forward this year he was a popular candidate to make his first All-Star team. Depending who you ask you'll get a different answer on whether Mobley's season was a disappointing one prior to his injury, but missing six weeks knocks him out of any award discussion for this year.
The Cavaliers have also played extremely well in Mobley's absence, putting a stretch-4 beside Jarrett Allen at all times and thriving with the greater offensive spacing. Can the team keep up their dominance putting the non-shooting Mobley back beside Allen? The defensive upside with Mobley and Allen is obviously high, but the Cavs have had the league's No. 1 defense without him; how much better could they get?
What could lead the Cavaliers to trade Evan Mobley?
All of that combined -- the Cavs playing better with spacing at the 4, their elite defense without Mobley, and his production already as a third-year player -- make him a fascinating trade candidate for Cleveland. Teams never trade elite young prospects like Mobley at this point in their career, but should Cleveland at least consider the idea?
If the Cavaliers could trade Mobley for a package allowing them to lean into this 4-out approach around Allen, should they consider such a deal? Let's lay out one such trade proposal and see what the lineup would look like after the deal.