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Steve Nash on Jarrett Allen: ‘We couldn’t probably have re-signed him anyway’

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Jarrett Allen is in a good place. He just signed a five year, $100 million deal with the Cavaliers and has been Eastern Conference player of the week. He’s averaging 14.2 points per game on 69.4 percent shooting while grabbing 10.9 rebounds per game.

The Nets drafted him low — 22nd — and developed him until he became part of the James Harden trade last January. He wound up in Cleveland as part of the four-team, six-player, nine-pick deal. His loss was a big one, particularly for fans. He had become a big favorite. There were stories at the time of the trade that the Nets were looking for one more pick to add to the deal, hoping it would be a good substitute for a rebuilding team. No such luck.

On Monday morning, just hours before Allen plays the Nets, Steve Nash spoke about the trade, admitting that the Nets were willing to deal Allen partly because they understood his price tag this past off-season would likely be very high, indeed too high. The team had other priorities at the time.

“For sure. We loved him and wish him a lot of success and are happy for him to get a contract. The reality is he was probably out, we couldn’t probably have re-signed him anyway,” said Nash. “Looking at the marketplace, he probably would have gotten a lot of money, and it would’ve been a huge gap compared to some of the other priorities.

“So that was part of the decision in being able to let something like that go. Obviously, the other part is James Harden is a special, special player. But no question we still root for [Allen] and support him.”

Indeed, even before the trade, the Nets and Allen tried to reach a long-term deal on extension, but failed. According to Yahoo! Sports Chris Haynes, the Nets offered him a four-year $48 million contract extension but he declined what he believed was a low-ball deal.

The Nets had hoped that the corps of bigs they put together this summer would make up for the loss. But Nic Claxton, his logical successor in the starting role, has not been durable — nowhere near as durable as Allen who missed 23 games in his four years with Brooklyn. Blake Griffin hasn’t been the same player he was last year either. Paul Millsap has missed some time for personal reasons and Day’Ron Sharpe just turned 20.

But as Nash noted, the Nets got Harden in the deal and he is what he is, one of the best point guards in the NBA ... ever. Brooklyn’s front office certainly misses Allen but needs Harden for their championship dreams.

In an interview with Mike Scotto of Hoopshype, Allen reminisced about what his former — and current — teammate Ed Davis had told the New York media back in January 2019, that Allen had a chance to a “$100 million player.”

“It’s funny that he was by my side when I was about to get the money, and he was rooting (for) me to get the money. Now that I have it, he’s by my side again, still edging me on to be the best I can be. It’s kind of funny. We’ve definitely talked about it,” Allen told Scotto.