Cleveland, Ohio – The Cleveland Cavaliers have always distinguished a player like Jarrett Allen – a bouncy defensive anchor who can grow alongside, and protect, their young undersea guard.
That’s why he attempted to trade for Indiana Pacers defensive linchpin Miles Turner at the deadline in February before being reprimanded. This is why he eventually signed a deal for Andre Drummond, pre-spending his salary cap space to bring on a two-time All-Star rider, always expecting him to select his contract, which he did.
The Cavs have seen the influence of Drummond. He went 4-4 with them in the lineup during 2019-20. They are 5-6 in games played this season.
Tuesday night was Drummond’s first absence due to a fusion of Achilles, and the Cavs were destroyed by 30 points. It was also inadvertently his worst defensive performance, allowing the Jazz to score 117 points at 50% from the field and 53.3% from 3-point range.
The arrival of Drummond nearly a year ago was the first step that showed a commitment to improving defense – the core of coach JB Bixstaff’s desired identity.
But Drummond is set as an unrestricted free agent who has not been well off this offseason and early conversations with him. It looked more likely to exit this summer than if it had not flipped a business before. The Cavs knew that they did not have much control over that outcome. JaVale McGee, which began on Tuesday night in place of Drummond, is also in the final year of his contract. Prior to Wednesday’s scintillation, the Cavs were staring beyond this season in a thin center depth chart – and a limited route to replace it.
When Brooklyn called on Wednesday afternoon, the Cavs voluntarily jumped into four team-agreeing James Harden blockbusters that sent shockwaves through the NBA – and stole one of the league’s top up and coming bigs.
Brooklyn finds the one who was shaking Harden – the deadly scorer and crown of the swap – and to form a challenging trio with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (if he ever returns from a private vacation). He left Alan, knowing that they could not afford to keep him beyond this year. The Houston Rockets feel better about their future, with a plethora of draft picks to ignite a rebuild. Indiana swaps Victor Oladipo for Caris Levert and saves money in the process.
The Kants benefited, adding Allen and swingman Taurion Prince in lieu of Danten Axum, a 2022 first round pick of the unprotected Milwaukee Bucks, with Giannis Entetocompompo losing some value, signing for maximum extension, and The 2024 second-round pickup was a source. It is said to be the worst asset in Cleveland’s shack.
Prince, a necessary throttle-in to help Brooklyn carry the money, was not a great year. But a change of scenery – and perhaps more opportunity – may help revive its value. Prince will provide depth on the wing. A versatile and defensive-minded forward with the versatility to play 3 or 4, the 26-year-old former first-rounder gives the Cavs another healthy rotational piece as they continue to take part in the battle.
But make no mistake: The move was about Allen – a guy who was near the top of his 2021 free agency board by the Cavs and set to score a run this offseason.
A source said, “When asked to describe the feeling in the building, I was very pleased.” “You get a boy who is 22 years old and is about to head into his career with our growing youth corps. To get a player of that magnitude from that era, that’s why we acquired these assets, to get these opportunities. “
Going back to the 2017 NBA Draft, the Cavs have preferred 6-foot-11 Allen for years. At Free Agency a few months ago, sources say members of Cleveland’s front office spoke to Brooklyn about Allen’s availability as a possible Tristan Thompson replacement. At the time, the win-now Nets had no interest in advancing, especially given his low salary numbers and the way he played inside the bubble.
Allen scored 11.2 points on 67.7% shooting from the field to go with 10.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.6 blocks in 12 games this season. He is 10th in the rebels and ninth in the blocks.
When on offense, he is a skilled pick-and-finish finisher and high-flying lobe threat who does not make an impact or needs plays to make an impact – one on a team with ball dominating guard Colin Sexton Important feature and Darius Garland. With Irving alluding to Ellen as a deadly pick-and-roll partner, the Cavs have visions of a successful Garland-Allen combination, which helps unlock another area of Garland’s budding game . Dating back to 2018–19, only Rudy Gobert has been used as a screener in that particular set.
On the other end, he has a heady backbone and elite rim protector, ranking fourth in the NBA in field goal percentage in terms of players with at least 250 field goals in the last two seasons.
What is the best way to mitigate the drawbacks that come with playing two short guards? Surround them with defensive-minded pieces.
The Cavs have sufficient preliminary data to highlight the size and rim protection effects on this group. With Drummond and McGee walking the punt, Larry Nance Jr. pacing Isaac while disrupting the passing lanes and fending off Isaac Okoro opponents, the Cavs reached the top of the league in defensive ratings – an extraordinary change for a team Which ranked last two. Years in a row.
In the short term, Cleveland’s center location is a bit cluttered. Sources say that Thon Maker will be forgiven and the Cavs have already received calls about McGee.
While the veteran is most likely to be squeezed apart by Allen, injury rashes during the first few weeks create an asset in depth. It would be up to Bickerstaff to balance the minutes and make the pieces fit. Drummond, who has been fully engaged in the franchise’s level of competitiveness since arriving last year, and is said to be accompanied by DeAndre Jordan and Allen with a center rotation with Brandon. Sources say Drummond called it “great trade” shortly after breaking the news to General Manager Coby Altman.
The Cavs have invested several resources to recover their defenses. They did not want to reduce that positive momentum. They could not afford to reclaim. With uncertainty about Drummond’s future, he needs some protection. Even though Drummond may have lived in Cleveland beyond this year, the Cavs were planning to search for another frontcourt piece.
The potential free agency target was Bam Adebayo away from the market, who signed a massive expansion in Miami. Rudy Gobert signed a new deal in Utah, allowing him to pull away from potential plans. Anthony Davis, always a pipedress by the way, unwittingly chose to live in Los Angeles.
What’s the point of having cap space if no one is going to spend it?
In many ways, that money was lent to Allen, who is a restricted free agent. Only in this way does the Cavs have more control. He inherited his Bird rights, could possibly match any offer letter and is optimistic about his chances of signing him to a lucrative long-term contract. He did not give up the first round to let him bolt.
The Cavs now have more than 50 games to show Allen, this is where he is – at the center of a promising youth corps featuring Garland, Sexton, Okoro, Nance, Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr.
Consider this free agency pitch – about six months earlier than expected.
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