The Cleveland Cavaliers are now flush with big men, so which one should they trade first?
As part of the blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, the Cleveland Cavaliers gave up a future second-round pick and guard Dante Exum to the Rockets while acquiring center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince from the Nets.
The highlight of the deal for Cleveland is Allen, who Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports they were thrilled to get. The 22-year old big man seems like a future piece for the Cavaliers, and his $3.9 million salary for this year fits into the trade exception they had from the Jordan Clarkson deal.
Cleveland suddenly has a roster filled with big men, as Larry Nance Jr. tweeted about Wednesday night. Allen joins Nance, Andre Drummond, JaVale McGee and Kevin Love to form what could be a full starting five of big guys if everyone was healthy.
Which big man should the Cavaliers trade first?
Let’s start with the obvious. Allen and Nance aren’t going anywhere. So let’s go to the guys who are older and, possibly, expensive.
Love is the most obvious trade chip for the Cavaliers in a broad sense, as contending teams could possibly line up to get him. He is currently sidelined with a right calf strain, but he may be back in action before the end of the month. He has two years left on his contract after this one, which is a thing, but rumors may resurface as the trade deadline gets closer.
Drummond is having a productive season (18.0 points, 15.1 rebounds per game). He made the no-brainer decision to pick up his $28.75 million during last season’s hiatus, but he is headed for free agency and stands as a trade chip on an expiring contract. He is dealing with bruised right Achilles right now, which caused him to miss a game Tuesday night, so that bears watching.
Fedor also reported teams have already called the Cavaliers about McGee’s availability. He is 32 years old (33 on Jan. 19) and in the final year of his contract, with impressive per-36 minute numbers through 12 games this season (17.7 points, 13.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks). So it makes sense to entertain offers, and take almost whatever can be had in return, if only to open up minutes for Allen.
An ideal scenario for the Cavaliers would start with Love returning to action soon, and playing well enough to bring significant trade offers. Drummond is a picture of an old-school big man who can’t stretch the floor, but his production is notable and he can fit in the right situation. McGee is a limited player, but he can be a valuable piece in a rotation.
The Cavaliers could very well trade more than one of Love, Drummond and McGee when it’s all said and done. In terms of who they should trade first, Drummond stands out but McGee may actually be gone first.