Lakers Trade Pitch Adds ‘High-Impact’ $100 Million Cavaliers Big Man

Lakers star Anthony Davis (right) and Jarrett Allen

The NBA’s free agency period is underway and so far, things haven’t quite worked out for the Lakers. They missed out on their top target, Warriors guard Klay Thompson (off to Dallas), and saw another of their preferred targets—center Jonas Valanciunas—sign with Washington. There’s some debate about how much interest the Lakers had in point guard Chris Paul, but it’s a moot point because he has landed with the Spurs.

The Lakers will re-sign star LeBron James, who was said to be willing to take a discount if it would help the Lakers land a star with their mid-level exception. But those options are diminishing.

Increasingly, it appears that if the Lakers do want to make a significant change to the roster, they will need to seek a trade. And one name that could gain traction over time is center Jarrett Allen, the Cavaliers big man who could be made available this summer.

“They’ve been pretty conservative with that group so something would have to change,” one Eastern Conference executive said. “They don’t want to trade (Donovan) Mitchell. They don’t want to trade (Darius) Garland. They’re not trading Evan Mobley. And they have not been pushing for a Jarrett Allen trade. But that’s just where things stand now—if they start getting offers, they’d have to consider moving Allen. But he won’t be cheap, he’s a high-impact guy.”

Jarrett Allen a Tough Defensive Center

The Lakers would be an interesting fit for Allen, who averaged 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. L.A. has hoped to add a center to play alongside Anthony Davis, who prefers to be a power forward, but that has been a fruitless quest the Lakers have been on pretty much since Davis arrived in 2019.

Allen is, indeed, an impact player. He is an excellent rebounder and defensive player, and was an All-Star in 2021. However, he is not a shooter. Allen has attempted just 111 3-pointers in his seven NBA seasons, and made only 17.1% of them.

There would be some concern about the Lakers adding another non-shooter to their starting five. Spacing was a problem for the offense last year, with Davis and LeBron James doing their best work around the basket. Adding Allen would create more of a clog in the middle.

Still, an interior of Allen and Davis would be formidable on the defensive end. Davis is a five-time All-Defense selection, and Allen finished 10th in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season.

Lakers Could Have Difficulty Constructing Trade Package

Allen is entering the third year of a five-year, $100 million contract he signed with the Cavaliers in 2021. He makes $20 million per year, a reasonable price for his production.

One problem the Lakers would have in making a deal for Allen is finding the right talent to send to the Cavaliers. L.A. could match salaries by giving up Rui Hachimura and point guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, and include one of its future first-round picks—2029 or 2031. But the Cavs would want a better win-now return for Allen.

A package of Austin Reaves and Jarred Vanderbilt, with a future pick, is a lot more likely to get the Cavaliers’ attention. But the Lakers have insisted they won’t be trading Reaves this summer, which would scuttle that possibility.

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