One of the most exciting times of the NBA offseason is officially underway with a bang. The NBA free agency period began on Monday at 5 p.m. C.T, with multiple teams wasting no time signing or resigning players to new contracts.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were one of these teams, as they locked-in one of their brightest stars for the foreseeable future. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavs signed former Longhorn center Jarret Allen to a five year, $100 million contact extension.
Allen, 23, is now the fifth-highest paid center in the league in only his fifth season as a pro after being drafted 22nd overall out of Texas by the Brooklyn Nets in 2017.
He's coming off of a rollercoaster season that started with him playing quality minutes off the bench for a contending Nets team, who eventually traded him and Taurean Prince to Cleveland in part of a three-team trade with Houston that helped the Nets land former MVP James Harden.
One franchise's trade piece is now a treasure for another. "The Fro" saw immediate success upon his arrival in Cleveland, starting 40 of 51 games played while averaging 13.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks. He even shot an impressive 60.9 percent from the floor.
While his scoring and shooting numbers are notable, it's on the defensive end where Allen truly shines above the rest. He is a lethal rim protector that uses his skinny but powerful 6-foot-11 frame to punish defenders who challenge him in the paint. He's even flashed the NBA-desirable ability to guard smaller guys out on the perimeter when needed.
His offensive game has seen quality improvement since his arrival to the NBA after only one season at Texas. Allen is a proven rim-runner who can effectively operate in the pick-and-roll due to his disciplined screen-setting and lob-threat ability.
Allen's aggressiveness on the boards also creates more opportunities for himself and his teammates. His 9.9 rebounds per game led the Cavs in 2021 despite the presence of rebounding-machine Andre Drummond on the team.
The Cavs will now look to pair the defensive dominance of Allen with center and third overall pick Evan Mobley, who the team drafted out of USC in last week's draft.
Cleveland is a young and rebuilding team that felt pulling the trigger on a long-term contract with Allen was the right move for the future. If his prior NBA experience is any indication, Allen is on the path of continued growth that should land him in the conversation of the league's best big-men in the seasons to come.
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