Luka Doncic emphasized that the Dallas Mavericks "must get better" at rebounding after they were out-rebounded by a margin of 20 boards in their 113-110 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Dallas gave up 18 offensive rebounds to the Cavaliers, and it's not an easy stat to look off considering that rookie center Dereck Lively II has been back in the lineup for two games now for Dallas.
Lively II had one of his worst performances of the season as he finished with only four points and four rebounds in 25 minutes of play. Lively II had one of his best games of the season against Phoenix just a few nights ago on Christmas Day, but there was one key difference in this game versus the Cavaliers that prompted this performance from him.
Cavaliers star center gives Mavericks perfect recruiting pitch to trade for him
That being Jarrett Allen, as Allen finished with 24 points and 23 rebounds (nine of them being offensive rebounds). Allen remediated Lively II's threat as a roll man on the other side of the ball as well, but the 25-year-old veteran was complimentary of Lively II's production this season when he spoke to the media after the game nonetheless.
"Honestly, I’m a big fan of Dereck Lively. I keep up with him as a rookie. He’s been excellent this year at getting rebounds and just positioning. So, not necessarily a mismatch, I just feel like he didn’t have the best game for himself tonight"- Jarrett Allen
Allen is essentially a more polished version of Lively II at this stage in his career, so there's a lot of hope for Mavericks fans that Lively II can be just as tantalizing of a force at center one day once he adds size and improves his basketball IQ.
Nonetheless, perhaps Allen's performance against Dallas was an omen for something much larger at play. It was reported by Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer just over a week ago that Allen has been receiving trade interest from a variety of playoff teams.
The one-time All-Star has averaged 13.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and one block per game in 26 contests for the Cavaliers this season, but he could have a much more prolific role in Dallas. Cleveland is banking on the development of former No. 3 overall pick Evan Mobley, as the 6-foot-11 young big man is poised to anchor the Cavaliers down low once he fully develops.
Unfortunately it was announced that Mobley would miss 6-8 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee a couple weeks ago, but perhaps Cleveland is still looking for Mobley to be their center of the future instead of Allen. Cleveland would probably be pretty reluctant to trade Allen right now given Mobley's injury, but they could certainly use some more wings on their roster so maybe they'd like to move away from their two-big lineup this season.
Dallas would have to dispense a lot of assets to haul in Allen and may even have to involve a third team in a theoretical trade for Allen, but if they could gnaw him away from the Cavaliers then Dallas would potentially thrust themselves into contender status at that point.
Allen still has two years left on his contract so we'd have to see how the logistics of the trade would work, but Allen would be the Mavs' definitive All-Star rim protector if the Mavericks traded for him. Giving Lively II a mentor of Allen's pedigree would be invaluable for Dallas as well, so they should do anything in their power to trade for Allen if a good opportunity presents itself.
Dallas could sorely use another big man whether they are starting or coming off the bench, but only time will tell if Dallas wishes to trade for Allen before the deadline, so stay plugged in with us for further updates on the situation.