It could be a summer full of rumors for Jarrett Allen and the Cleveland Cavaliers as teams are already inquiring about Allen’s availability. According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the New Orleans Pelicans have called Cleveland to discuss a potential deal.
From his report:
“Now the Spurs will have to turn to other targets, perhaps someone like Pelicans center Jonas Valančiūnas, as New Orleans and San Antonio recently did business on offloading Devonte’ Graham’s contract, and the Pelicans, sources said, have since made Valančiūnas available in search of more mobile, rim-protecting big men. New Orleans made one call, sources said, to Cleveland about obtaining Jarrett Allen.”
The Pelicans have an interest in swapping Jonas Valanciunas for a more mobile rim protector, hence their fixation on Allen. The 25-year-old seven-footer has blossomed into an elite defensive anchor in Cleveland and would be a clear upgrade in this department for New Orleans.
As for the Cavs, there is an appeal to trading Allen. They face a conundrum in the frontcourt with two non-shooters in Allen and Evan Mobley. Inserting Valanciunas, a career 35.7% three-point shooter, would solve this concern on paper.
However, Valanciunas attempted just 109 three-pointers in 79 games last season. That’s nearly 70 fewer than Isaac Okoro in three more games. So while Valanciunas is a far more efficient three-point shooter than Allen, his lack of volume is unlikely to change much for Cleveland.
Then there is the age concern. Valanciunas is 31, whereas Allen is 25 and arguably has his best years ahead of him. A straight swap for Valanciunas wouldn’t make much sense for the Cavaliers and it doesn’t work financially for New Orleans — another asset would have to be included.
This is where the Pelicans' collection of wing players could come into play. Names like Trey Murphy and Herbert Jones would pique Cleveland’s interest as they search to fill their gap at small forward. Though, the inclusion of any of those players is pure speculation, at this point. Murphy, in particular, would fit the Cavs’ needs, but is someone the Pelicans probably don’t want to give up. Brandon Ingram would be a dream, but he would not be someone New Orleans would give up for Allen.
Cavaliers’ president of basketball operations Koby Altman has suggested a cautious, patient approach to the offseason. During his end-of-season press conference in April, Altman stated he had no plans of making sweeping changes but would “tweak” the roster via avenues such as the Cavaliers’ $12 million dollar mid-level exception in free agency. Trading Allen, for any package, would be a sweeping change.
Regardless of Allen’s long-term viability next to Mobley, there is no questioning his role in Cleveland’s success over the last two seasons. He likely only be moved if the Cavaliers receive an offer for a wing that can solve their spacing concerns.