It’s time to get excited about the Cavs’ young core

Jarrett Allen trade
The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Jarrett Allen in the James Harden trade. Photo from Newsday.

The Cleveland Cavaliers picked up Jarrett Allen for a bargain price in the James Harden trade.

Cleveland gave up a future Milwaukee Bucks first-round pick to get in on the deal. They also acquired Taurean Prince to provide further shooting and wing defense.

With Victor Oladipo and Caris LeVert changing teams, and the obvious focus on the Nets’ title contention, it’s easy to forget Cleveland’s role in this. It was opportunism from an organization which looks to have a bright future.

The Cavs lost Dante Exum in this trade. In Prince and Allen, they addressed two long-term needs. Allen might join a logjam at center, but neither JaVale McGee nor Andre Drummond are going to be on this team next season.

Cleveland now has a core of players 22 years old and younger. Allen, Isaac Okoro, Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, and Kevin Porter Jr. is an impressive quartet (though it remains to be seen what happens with Porter). Okoro brings the defense on the wing, Allen can protect the basket and roll to the rim. Garland and Sexton impressed so greatly early in this season that the ‘Sexland’ nickname was born.

Allen trade completes Cavs quiet rebuild

There is no All-Star-level prospect like Trae Young or Ja Morant. Cleveland have been in the NBA wilderness since LeBron James departed for a second time, but they are slowly working towards a contending team again. If any of their young core take the leap towards All-Stardom in the next year or so, they will be ready to return to the postseason.

There’s a lot to analyse about Wednesday’s four-team trade. The Pacers made a smart move, the Rockets restocked their draft capital and the Nets built the NBA’s lone big three. All of those things grabbed the headlines. Cleveland perhaps got the best value of all, however, picking up an above-average, 22-year-old center for a late first-round pick.

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About Sam Cox 559 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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