The Cleveland Cavaliers got involved in the biggest NBA trade of the year.
As first reported by The Athletic, a four-team deal headlined by James Harden heading to the Brooklyn Nets also sees the Cavs acquired center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince from the Nets. Cleveland also sent Dante Exum and a 2022 first-round pick (the Bucks’ pick, not their own) to the Rockets.
The Nets also nabbed Victor Oladipo in the deal, with Caris LeVert heading to the Pacers and Rodions Kurucs going to Rockets. Brooklyn also sent Houston three first-round round picks and pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027.
Allen, a 22-year-old center, is the prize of the deal for Cleveland. Allen is the same age is Collin Sexton and fits in really nicely as a center in the team’s on-going rebuild. He’s a 6’11” center with a 7’6” wingspan averaging a double-double this year. Allen is also a high-end shot blocker — something Cleveland needs — who doesn’t foul a lot.
He might not start right away as long as Andre Drummond is around, but he absolutely should be the team’s long-term starting center option. He is also set to be a restricted free agent next summer, so he’s also set for a pay bump. What that is is unclear, but Cleveland wouldn’t have acquired him without an eye on keeping him.
Prince, meanwhile, is a 26-year-old, 6’7” forward who has played with the Nets and Hawks in his career. He’s signed through next season, so he conceivably could hang around or be flipped. He’s averaging 11.4 points in five NBA seasons.