Would the Lakers actually make this trade?
Again, Hachimura was fantastic after joining the Lakers. He played the best basketball of his career. The change of scenery from Washington, D.C. boosted the forward’s confidence and production.
Unfortunately, it also makes him a perfect trade candidate to land the Lakers their long-term center.
Allen is under contract until 2026, making $20 million each year. While Jarrett Allen was on the 2021 NBA All-Star team, his value is unlikely to go much higher than it is now for his next deal. This means that re-signing Allen does not hurt the Lakers’ search for superstars. This gives the Lakers a cost-effective player who pairs perfectly with Davis in the post-LeBron James era.
With the Lakers struggling to find a good center in free agency for the past few summers, trading a solid role player in Hachimura for a 25-year-old All-Star center not even in their prime yet would build the team for years of success.
Defensively, Jarrett Allen is a resounding improvement from Hachimura. Rui Hachimura is far from a negative defender, but playing Allen and Davis together gives the Lakers the most fearsome frontcourt duo in the Western Conference without a doubt.
Putting two walking highlight reels of dominant dunks and blocks together is hard to view negatively.
Though bigger stars might become available in trades this season, the Lakers have nearly nonexistent real draft capital to offer in big trades. Landing a player of Allen’s caliber without giving up a first round pick is a major selling point for the Lakers.
For the Cavaliers, trading for Allen is going to cost a valuable player such as Hachimura. Cleveland is looking to contend in the East just as much as Los Angeles is looking to win in the West. The Cavaliers so far have no problems keeping Allen and Mobley together, but their offseason priority of 3-point shooting suggests that a long-range threat in Hachimura would get Cleveland’s interest.
In the end, this trade is a trade of fit for both teams. The Cavaliers are looking to build around Mobley, which means putting shooters on the court at all times. The Lakers need another reliable center to fulfill their promise to Davis.
There’s nothing jaw-dropping for either team, but the upside of both players for their new teams could be a needle mover for both franchises’ futures. Both Hachimura and Davis would be given a chance to play winning basketball in their best role going forward. It’s hard to hate this deal.