Cleveland Cavaliers Trade Grade and 2021 Roster Insights: Big Surprises

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The Cleveland Cavaliers got involved in the James Harden sweepstakes Wednesday afternoon and showed there can be value in being one of those third or fourth teams that help facilitate a mega-deal. Here is my Cleveland Cavaliers trade grade!

According to Shams Charania of the Athletic, the Cavaliers have agreed to send their 2022 Milwaukee Bucks first round pick and Dante Exum to the Houston Rockets. In return, they’ll receive Brooklyn center Jarrett Allen and small forward Taurean Prince.

Jarret Allen highlights the Cavs deal in this trade. Cleveland Cavaliers trade grade below.
BROOKLYN, NY – JANUARY 7: Jarrett Allen #31 of the Brooklyn Nets dunks the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 7, 2020 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cleveland Cavaliers Trade Grade

The Cavs were able to bring in a young, emerging player in Allen who should be their starting center for the next five years and a lengthy wing that will immediately get playing time in Prince. Outgoing from Cleveland is the Milwaukee Bucks 2022 first round pick (which became a lot less attractive when Giannis re-signed) and the oft-injured Exum. While he’s been a nice player this year, he recently went down with a calf strain and is on the last year of his contract.
Cleveland Cavaliers Trade Grade: A-

Roster Insights

This trade immediately gives the Cavaliers flexibility with Andre Drummond. They were not able to work out a deal over this off-season with the 27 year old big man. While he has played well for the Cavs, averaging 18 points, 15 rebounds, 1 steal and 1.6 blocks per game, it’ll likely be time to move on. The Cavaliers now can either trade him ahead of the deadline to a contender looking to bolster their rebounding or hang onto him and take their best shot at the 8 seed.

Being only 22, Allen fits much better with the Cavaliers youthful core. His defensive rim protection will be critical with the their smaller backcourt and he possess enough agility to be a great roller with Darius Garland at point. In 12 games with Brooklyn this season, Allen is averaging 11.2 points on 67.7% shooting from the field to go along with 10.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.6 blocks.

Prince will give the Cavaliers a much needed healthy wing who is under contract through the 2021 season, as Dylan Windler hasn’t been able to stay healthy and Kevin Porter Jr. has had legal issues that have kept him off the court this season. Although Prince is going from championship contender to 8 seed hopeful, he must be happy he’ll get all the minutes he could dream of with the lackluster wing depth of the Cavaliers, as he looks to procure another contract beyond next season.

The Cavaliers all of a sudden are bloated with big men, I would watch for more trade action as the deadline nears.

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