Possible All-Star Cavaliers Trade Target Wants Epic Extension: Report

After trading for All-Star combo guard Donovan Mitchell during the Utah Jazz’s 2022 veteran asset fire sale, the Cleveland Cavaliers firmly vaulted themselves into the realm of Eastern Conference near-contenders.

The club posted a 51-31 record in 2022-23 and secured the East’s No. 5 seed, falling to the New York Knicks in a brisk five-game first round playoff series. In 2023-24, plagued by injuries, Cleveland went 48-34 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since LeBron James left the Cavaliers in 2018.

That wasn’t enough to save former head coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s job. The now-Pistons head coach was canned during the offseason, and replaced by former title-winning Golden State Warriors assistant coach (and ex-Brooklyn Nets head coach) Kenny Atkinson.

Mitchell, meanwhile, inked a three-year contract extension worth an estimated $150.3 million that will keep him under team control through at least 2026-27. He has a player option for 2027-28.

Read More: With Donovan Mitchell Re-Signing, What’s Next in Cleveland?

With that bit of business done, one now wonders how team president Koby Altman intends to handle the rest of the team’s offseason. There seems to be a lot of role overlap between Mitchell and All-Star point guard Darius Garland, just as there is in the frontcourt between power forward Evan Mobley and All-Star center Jarrett Allen.

Brandon Ingram Lauri Markkanen Jazz Pelicans
Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots over Lauri Markkanen #23 of the Utah Jazz during the third quarter ofan NBA game at Smoothie King Center on January 23, 2024 in New Orleans,…

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Allen has been floated as a potential trade fit for another good-but-not-great NBA squad, the New Orleans Pelicans, who are allegedly looking to get off the contract of All-Star small forward Brandon Ingram, and could use a center after losing Jonas Valančiūnas in free agency to the tanking Washington Wizards.

During an appearance on ESPN Cleveland 850-AM, insider Brian Windhorst revealed the two primary factors complicating a swap of Allen for Ingram.

“Well two things: one, you can’t trade Brandon Ingram straight up for Jarrett Allen. Brandon Ingram makes $16 million more than Jarrett Allen does,” Windhorst noted. “So when you start brainstorming that contract, you better come up with a bunch more money you’re gonna trade. So basically, you’re probably going to have to trade [wing] Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen.”

“Secondly, the reason that the Pelicans want to trade Brandon Ingram isn’t because he’s not a good player. It’s because he wants a $200 million contract extension,” Windhorst said. “They don’t want to give it to him. And whatever team trades for him inherits the exact same situation: a player who wants a $200 million contract extension. And frankly, I don’t think the Cavs can afford it. And I don’t mean [owner] Dan Gilbert’s books. I’m talking about, that would blast them into the second apron. Frankly, I don’t know if it’s a prudent move.”

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Ingram is currently owed $36 million in the final year of his current deal with New Orleans. He could help diversify the Pelicans’ offense, while allowing young Mobley to finally start playing full-time minutes at center.

In 64 games last year for the 49-33 Pelicans, the lanky three-level scorer averaged 20.8 points on .492/.355/.801 shooting splits, 5.7 assists, 5.1 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks.