Anytime there’s a potential blockbuster trade in the NBA, it seems as though the Cleveland Cavaliers are mentioned as a possible third team to help facilitate a deal.
Well on Wednesday, the Cavaliers were one of those teams as they helped facilitate the long-rumored James Harden trade as the former MVP was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team deal involving the Houston Rockets, and the Indiana Pacers.
Cleveland sent veteran guard Dante Exum to Houston along with the rights to Milwaukee’s first round pick in 2022. They also sent a 2024 second-round pick to Brooklyn in the trade. In return, Cleveland received center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince from the Nets.
Now people were of course poking fun at the Cavaliers immediately following the details of the trade because they acquired another center in Allen while having Andre Drummond and JaVale McGee currently on the roster. So much so that even Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. joined in on the action.
The acquisition of Allen is a great one by Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman. Allen is one of the most promising big men in the NBA and only being 22 years old, there’s still room for his game to develop. Since being drafted 22nd overall by Brooklyn in 2017, the 6’11 center has gotten it done on both ends of the floor shooting 61.2% from the floor while also averaging 7.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per contest.
Diving into the advanced stats, Allen has been in the top 20 in total rebound percentage and block percentage which are estimates of how much the player rebounds or blocks when they are on the floor in each of the last three seasons.
Allen is more of a traditional center in an era where much of the centers have or are attempting to expand their range and there’s a chance he could develop some form of jump shot to his game but the Cavaliers could want him in some sort of role that Tristan Thompson was in when he was in Cleveland although Allen has much more upside to his game.
It’s clear that the Cavaliers got involved in this trade because of Allen and are pegging him to be the center of the future. Allen will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season but Cleveland acquired his “Bird Rights” in the trade and will be able to offer him the most money in a new contract.
Prince has been a solid role player in his five NBA seasons for Brooklyn and Atlanta, who acquired him in a draft night trade in 2016 after he was selected by Utah with the 12th overall pick.
He can play both forward positions but was being primarily used as a small forward early this season for the Nets, averaging 8.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest. Adding Prince could allow Cedi Osman to return to his role off the bench as he has struggled recently in the starting lineup.