The Cleveland Cavaliers’ center Jarrett Allen will be a restricted free agent this offseason. According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, the Cavs extended a qualifying offer to Allen. By extending a qualifying offer, Cleveland can match any offers the big man will get.
In contrast to past reports, the Cavaliers will likely make Allen their center of the future. Reports have emerged claiming the Cavs like the potential frontcourt of Allen and Evan Mobley. As of now, Mobley seems to be Cleveland’s most realistic pick for the 2021 NBA Draft. To secure their frontcourt of future, the Cavs will need to sign Allen to a long-term contract this summer. There will be several potential suitors for Allen. Which teams will the Cavaliers have to beat out to resign Allen?
The Battle for Allen
The biggest threats to sign Allen are reportedly the Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors. As mentioned, the Cavs can match any offer Allen receives in free agency. The Cavaliers should have just enough cap space to resign Allen with roughly $18 million in space. More than likely, Allen will get long-term offers in the range of $16-20 million per year. The length of his contract will likely be in the four to five year range.
The Sacramento Kings offering a lucrative contract to Allen is unlikely. The Kings only have around $4 million free and may pursue resigning Richaun Holmes. Obviously, Allen would be a replacement for Holmes. However, Sacramento will need to move pieces to offer Allen a good contract.
The Hornets, Mavericks and Raptors all have enough space to sign Allen. If Charlotte lets Devonte Graham and Malik Monk walk, they will have around $25 million of space. This gives them plenty to work with in their pursuit of Allen. Next, Dallas has decisions to make regarding several players. Josh Richardson has a player option, the Mavericks have an option on Willie Cauley-Stein and has decisions to make regarding Tim Hardaway Jr.’s future in Dallas. Further, the Mavericks could have anywhere from $21-32 in space. Toronto has a dire need for frontcourt help and has around $27 million to work with. Charlotte, Dallas and Toronto have all appeared in rumors surrounding Allen’s future for awhile now. Also, the fact they all have enough cap space to acquire Allen makes them very dangerous.
Lastly, the San Antonio Spurs are another potential threat to sign Allen. San Antonio has frontcourt needs combined with tons of cap space. The Spurs have around a whopping $48 million available this offseason. In contrast, San Antonio has not been included in many Allen rumors with the Hornets, Mavericks and Raptors. On the other hand, considering their needs and cap space the Spurs will be a threat.
Potential Bidding War
Any appealing restricted free agent usually becomes a bidding war. Allen is only 23-years-old and is coming off a career-high stretch in Cleveland averaging 13.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and shot 60.9%. It is understandable why Allen could secure a large long-term contract. Since Cleveland has free cap to work with, they will likely match nearly any offer Allen would get.
Where this becomes dangerous is if Allen becomes the center of a bidding war. The Cavs will probably not offer anything beyond $20 million annually due to the young assets they possess that will eventually need their own extensions. If one of the mentioned Hornets, Mavericks, Raptors or Spurs get desperate enough, Cleveland would lose a bidding battle. All the mentioned teams have more cap available. In addition, destinations like Dallas offer more immediate success for Allen. As long as the offers Allen receives are not beyond his value, Cleveland will resign Allen. The potential frontcourt of Allen and Mobley seems to be very appealing for the Cavaliers organization. Cleveland will do everything in their power to secure Allen for the future.