Laying out the Trade
Trading Mobley for a star wing would be ideal, but those kinds of players are rarely available. Even if they were, Cleveland doesn't have any first-round picks to attach to Mobley to make a run at an All-NBA forward. That's why it may make more sense to target another young prospect on a team that desperately needs an all-league defender in a fascinating version of a challenge trade.
That puts the Sacramento Kings into focus as a trade partner. They have played better defensively this season than last year, but they lack any one single player who absolutely changes the calculus on that end. Mobley would provide that, with the upside to be a tentpole player for them for the next decade.
The Kings also have a young prospect of their own who is blossoming into one of the league's best young forwards, and his comfort level shooting from outside makes him an ideal fit in a frontcourt with Jarrett Allen, whether he plays at the 4 or the 5. That player is second-year forward Keegan Murray.
Here is what a trade could look like:
The Kings get an All-Defense player to pair with Domantas Sabonis in the frontcourt. The Cavs can utilize a number of schemes with the versatile Mobley, but one clear approach would be to have Sabonis play drop coverage and defend an opposing team's center, with Mobley free to roam and recover on the weakside. Yet if the Kings wanted to play a more aggressive scheme, having Sabonis blitz on the perimeter gives them one of the league's best rim protectors rotating in behind him.
The Kings would be giving up Murray, but they would get back a player with a higher upside. Playing Mobley also allows them to be more comfortable playing elite offensive players with defensive weaknesses, as Mobley is the ultimate clean-up player.
If Sacramento talks themselves into making this deal, would the Cavaliers say yes?