Former NBA executive John Hollinger believes the Cavs would have to pay Allen a hefty amount in restricted free agency to keep the rising star in Cleveland.
“In the short term this further crowds Cleveland’s overpopulated frontcourt, but the Cavs aren’t thinking about the short term here,” Hollinger of The Athletic wrote. “Allen is only 22 and projects as a top-15 center going forward. The Cavs have enough flexibility below the luxury tax line to pay him a market rate as a restricted free agent (likely in the $15 million to $20 million range annually), and he provides another prong in Cleveland’s slow but steady post-LeBron James rebuild.”
In addition, the Cavs netted forward Taurean Prince from the Nets in the deal. However, Allen was the Cavs’ primary prize in the return category.
The Cavs acquisition of Allen was extremely positive for the franchise.
Allen, 22, is having a career campaign. He’s averaging 11.2 points, 10.4 boards and 1.6 blocks per game this season.
It is uncharacteristic for small market teams like the Cavs to pick up budding players in free agency. As a result, the Cavs’ quick and calculated trade for Allen may have significantly expedited the team’s rebuild.
The Cavs hold a 5-7 record this season. They’ve missed the postseason for the last two years.