Jarrett Allen was en route to Madison Square Garden to face the Knicks when Nets general manager Sean Marks called. As he looked down at his phone, Allen knew what was happening. His time in Brooklyn was over.
“It was definitely rough on me,” Allen said. “Even though you say it’s the business of basketball, it never makes it easier. But at the end of the day, it’s the business, and you have to move on.”
Allen was selected 22nd overall in the 2017 draft as a 19-year-old out of Texas. After growing up in Texas and playing high school and college ball there, Allen called his time in Brooklyn a “growing stepping stone” after basking in the bright lights of New York. Allen and Caris LeVert were considered members of Brooklyn’s long-term core before the blockbuster trade to acquire James Harden.
“Me and Caris being traded I felt like being a part of the, I hate saying it like that, but being a part of the core in Brooklyn what people were calling us, it was definitely tough to see all of us — well, not all of us because Spencer (Dinwiddie) and Joe (Harris) are still there — having to break the core up, we both felt it,” Allen added.
After reflecting on his feelings about being traded, Allen was asked if he would’ve made the blockbuster trade, including giving up seven draft picks, to land Harden if he were Marks.
“In all honesty, I would say I would do it, I’m not going to lie,” Allen said. “If you look at what happened with the Lakers, they did the same thing. They went and got their ring. If I take myself out of it, I would’ve loved to stay in Brooklyn, but I understand that in an opportunity like that, you have to go do it.”
According to the 22-year-old center, he was unaware of Cleveland’s interest in him until a phone conversation following the trade with Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman, who told Allen the team has tried to acquire him “for a while.”
Since arriving in Cleveland, the past few days have been a “whirlwind,” according to Allen, looking for an apartment, learning the playbook, and finally being able to practice on Monday.
As noted in a recent story on HoopsHype, Allen will be one of the top restricted free agents on the market this offseason after Cleveland extends him a $5.66 million qualifying offer. Allen will become the franchise’s long-term starting center as Andre Drummond is expected to be on the trading block before the deadline in March.
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