Tony Dejak/Associated Press
As part of the four-team James Harden trade, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince, sending out Dante Exum, a 2022 first-round pick (via the Milwaukee Bucks) and a 2024 second-round pick.
The move came just seven months after they traded for two-time All-Star center Andre Drummond. Cleveland also acquired JaVale McGee from the Los Angeles Lakers in November, a move that opened up cap space for L.A. and netted the Cavs a future second-round pick.
While Allen’s future in Cleveland is secure (he’s a restricted free agent this offseason), Drummond’s was always in doubt. After he picked up his $28.8 million player option, he and the Cavaliers were unable to come to a long-term contract extension, which means the 27-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent after 2020-21. His future with the franchise is very much in doubt.
Getting the 22-year-old Allen all but guarantees Drummond’s time with the Cavaliers will be over following the season, if he’s not traded before.
It also means things might get awkward in Cleveland for a while.
Drummond has been a good sport so far, reportedly sending general manager Koby Altman a text congratulating him on making the trade for Allen and Prince and later telling the media he was “happy” with the move, per’s Chris Fedor.
Drummond also addressed his own future with the team.
“The trade, it is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about that,” he said. “If I do get traded, I don’t control that either. I’m just here to play basketball with whatever jersey I have on. That’s all I can focus on right now.”
Drummond likely sees the writing on the wall, but he responded with a monster night (33 points, 23 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks) against the New York Knicks, leading an injury-plagued Cavs team to a win.
While he and Tristan Thompson successfully shared the center position following his initial trade to the Cavs, Cleveland is clearly ready to commit to Allen as the long-term answer.
Regardless of whether Drummond saw himself staying with the Cavaliers for a long time, the trade for Allen likely means he’ll be forced to move midseason once again, and it eliminates one of the few teams that could have signed him to a big contract this offseason.
Buy or Sell: Sell. No player is happy watching his team trade for a replacement.