The question for Caruso is more a question of price than of value to the Cavaliers. Will the Bulls entertain offers for less than a first-round pick? The Cavs can offer matching salary in the form of Okoro, Dean Wade or Ricky Rubio (or Caris LeVert if they want to make it into a larger deal) and a handful of second-round picks. Does, say, Isaac Okoro, Sam Merrill and tow second-round picks get it done?
The Bulls will certainly hope for a first-round pick from another team, and their reticence to break up their team will likely require a larger offer to convince them. The Cavs will need Chicago to change its mindset into a seller by the Trade Deadline, opening up the possibility for the Cavs to win the bidding when other teams look elsewhere.
If the Bulls continue their poor start, that mindset could change more quickly, and the Cavaliers could strike before other contenders are ready to make such a move. That window could be the opportunity Cleveland needs to upgrade both its defense and point guard depth in one move, without truly sacrificing size or salary flexibility. Caruso is also under contract next season for just $9.89 million, a bargain and a number easily folded into Cleveland’s cap sheet for next year.
Alex Caruso is not a perfect fit; he is a poor shooter and he has struggled with injuries frequently over the past few seasons. He is also a proven playoff performer, defensive game-changer and solid veteran presence who would make the Cavs a better team.
If the Bulls’ ineptitude opens up a window for the Cavaliers to strike, they should strongly consider reaching through that window and getting a deal done.