Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Allen
Cleveland doesn’t have many enticing trade candidates for the OKC Thunder. Evan Mobley is presumably untouchable. They have no forwards who OKC would want, and a trade for one of their star guards would be redundant. This leaves Jarrett Allen as the lone target remaining.
Although the OKC Thunder already have their starting center in Chet Holmgren, inserting Allen into the rotation may make more sense than it seems. Allen has shared the floor with another big in Mobley for two seasons, and the Cavaliers have boasted a top 5 defense in each. Allen could guard opposing centers while Holmgren roams the floor as a switchable rim protector.
With Allen and Holmgren on the court, the greatest defensive weakness for the OKC Thunder would become its strength. The OKC Thunder gave up the most points off put backs in the league in 2023. The Cavaliers gave up the third-fewest.
Allen holds his own against guards and wings outside the paint. He provides a valuable combination of rim protection and perimeter isolation defense.
Playing two switchable, rim-protecting bigs simultaneously has proven to be a winning defensive formula in Cleveland. Yet their lineup failed them in the first round of the 2023 playoffs against the Knicks.
The Cavaliers’ offense struggled due to its glaring lack of space. Allen and Mobley were two non-shooters sharing the floor. Things would be different in Bricktown. The two-big formula may succeed deep into the playoffs in OKC because Holmgren is a shooter.