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Jarrett Allen Re-Signs with Cavaliers on 5-Year, $100M Contract in Free Agency

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2021

BROOKLYN, NY - MAY 16: Jarrett Allen #31 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots a free throw during the game against the Brooklyn Nets on May 16, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Jarrett Allen will return to the Cleveland Cavaliers after agreeing to a five-year, $100 million extension, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

To some extent, the Cavs painted themselves into a corner when they acquired Allen from the Brooklyn Nets as part of the sprawling James Harden trade. They knew the 23-year-old was eligible for restricted free agency, so many expected a long-term contract from Cleveland to be forthcoming in the offseason.

ESPN's Kevin Pelton explained at the time of the deal the team "might unintentionally invite offers from other teams designed to drive up his price because of the assumption the Cavaliers will pay to retain him."

In general, that's always one of the dangers with restricted free agency. In one of the more notable recent examples, the Sacramento Kings handed Zach LaVine a four-year, $78 million offer sheet, one the Chicago Bulls had little choice but to match.

In other cases, however, teams can be wary of extending any offer sheets when they know it's likely to be matched. Cleveland had this happen with Tristan Thompson during the 2015 offseason as negotiations between the two sides dragged on.

Allen played well with the Cavs, thus providing them with plenty of reasons to pencil him into their long-term plans.

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The 6'11" center averaged 13.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 51 games. He also shot 60.9 percent from the field. His best performance came in a 112-96 win over the Houston Rockets on Feb. 24. The center finished with 26 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks while missing just one of his 11 shot attempts.

Given his age, Allen is a logical fit for a franchise building around Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Isaac Okoro. The Cavaliers also selected USC center Evan Mobley with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft to add to their young core.

But this move comes with some obvious risks for Cleveland.

Paying a premium for big men isn't a necessity in today's NBA. The organization saw this firsthand with Andre Drummond when it eventually bought him out in March after his trade market evaporated.

While this isn't on the same level as Kristaps Porzingis' max extension from the Dallas Mavericks, it could be a similar situation in that the Cavs wind up paying a lot for Allen when a similar player could be had for much less money.

Allen hasn't expanded his offensive repertoire too much, either. His six three-pointers in 2020-21 matched his career high, and 72 percent of his shot attempts came within five feet of the basket, according to NBA.com.

But rim protection is likely to be an even more prized asset at a time when superstars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson are making a living in the paint. Allen held opposing players to 52.0 percent shooting inside six feet and 51.1 percent inside 10 feet, per NBA.com.

And even if he doesn't develop a long-range jumper, the former Texas star can form a dynamic pick-and-roll combination with Garland.

The Cavs have been a bit rudderless after LeBron James left for the second time to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. With Allen locked in, their outlook is looking more positive.

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