Grade the Trade: OKC Thunder snag Cavaliers big man after Playoff loss in striking new proposal

Oklahoma City's underwhelming rebounding cost them severely in the NBA Playoffs. Do the Cleveland Cavaliers have the solution?
San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder
San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages
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In a Game 6 downfall to the Dallas Mavericks, the top seed in the Western Conference Oklahoma City Thunder is headed to an early-than-expected offseason. The Cleveland Cavaliers are approaching their offseason ready for massive change, and OKC might be the team to call to strike the right deal.

Donovan Mitchell's contract extension will determine the fate of Cleveland's backcourt, as Darius Garland's representation has suggested the young guard will be on the trade market if Mitchell is commited long-term to the Cavs. Whether or not Mitchell or Garland are on the team by next season, the Cavaliers' frontcourt seems to be on the verge of separating either way.

With two non-shooting big men in the starting frontcourt, Cleveland must choose between their young stud Evan Mobley or veteran center Jarrett Allen. Given Mobley's success in the playoffs after Allen suffered a punctured rib, the Cavs likely view Mobley's potential as the lone big man as a larger priority than Allen.

Why the Thunder should trade for Jarrett Allen

If Allen appears on the trade market, the Thunder could call the Cavs to negotiate to be the Fro's next home.

With their four-game sweep against the New Orleans Pelicans in Round 1 this postseason, OKC became the youngest team in NBA history to advance past the first round. Behind MVP finalist Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and rookie star Chet Holmgren, the Thunder have the brightest future of any Western Conference team. Still, Holmgren's slender frame and inexperience allowed the Mavericks' bigs to outperform on the boards, winning the rebounding battle and exposing OKC's biggest weakness.

After recording the best rebounding season of his career, Allen has reportedly garnered interest in the Thunder if he does in fact join the trade market. Allen averaged 10.5 rebounds per night and added 16.5 points. He played in 77 of the 82 available games of the regular season and recorded a franchise-best 17 consecutive games with a double-double in points and rebounds. If the Thunder need a center who can rebound with Chet, Allen is their best bet. Though Allen has struggled alongside a seven-footer in Mobley in the frontcourt, Chet's developed three-point shot would give the Thunder enough spacing to make the pairing more feasible on paper.

The Thunder enter the 2024 offseason with more financial flexibility than the majority of their rivals, making a deal in which OKC takes on extra salary a fairly easy maneuver compared to the majority of NBA transactions. Jarrett Allen is only owed $20 million per season, making him a prime candidate for the Thunder's offseason. It would not cost any of OKC's primary rotation players to match Allen's salary, and they desperately need a big man who can add to their rebounding presence while also matching the team's timeline fairly well.

Here's how a trade between the Thunder and Cavaliers could work.