After a trip to the Western Conference Finals with the Lakers, star big man Anthony Davis signed a 3-year extension with Los Angeles, securing his spot as the team’s franchise star for the next five seasons.
With Davis’ extension, the Lakers’ focus now moves to building around him and keeping him happy so that he can lead them to another NBA Finals.
Since joining the Lakers, Davis has consistently wanted to play at power forward instead of center, and that discussion has stayed alive this offseason. So far, the Lakers have failed to find a long-term center solution.
Jaxson Hayes is the only center Los Angeles has added so far this summer, though reports of interest in Christian Wood have circulated. Wood’s horrendous defense and poor locker room presence are a major cause for concern, though.
Should the Lakers enter the season without another big, they will certainly be in the market for one as the trade deadline approaches. With a number of new signings and extensions, waiting until 2024 gives the Lakers more flexibility in who is available to trade.
The Lakers can make something special happen defensively via trade.
One trade target stands out as a perfect defensive fit next to Anthony Davis: Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen. After the 2023 NBA Playoffs, Allen’s name cannot escape trade rumors in light of growing uncertainty toward his long-term fit next to growing star Evan Mobley. Neither player can provide any significant floor spacing, and each one also might be best suited to playing at the five.
On the Lakers, Allen’s poor outside shooting is a non-factor, as Anthony Davis is one of the best long-range big men in the NBA. Furthermore, Allen has already shown how well he can play defensively next to another 7-foot big in Mobley, earning the best defense in the Association throughout last regular season.
Last season, Allen averaged 14.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. When the Fro is on the court, he consistently dominates the paint.
Admittedly, he can be bullied down low by physical bigs, and in Cleveland Mobley has the same issue as a young player. Davis, on the other hand, can play hard with anybody. With more support rebounding, Allen might have fewer problems maintaining his intensity.
What would a trade package for Allen look like? What role do the Cavs need enough to ship their All-Star center away?