Grade the Trade: Cavaliers buy at deadline, adding Hawks forward in proposal

Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers
Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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What's the deal?

Drafted one spot ahead of Garland in the 2019 NBA draft, De'Andre Hunter has carved out a solid spot in the Association as a tall forward with a clean shot from deep. Over his career, Hunter has shot 36.1 percent from three-point range and has reached 40.1 percent this season. The attraction to Hunter's offensive ability is clear for the Cavs, explaining their recent interest.

De'Andre Hunter to Cavs trade

With Hunter's $20 million salary this season, the Cavaliers have to match his salary with either Caris LeVert or Max Strus as the baseline for the package. Considering the impact Strus has brought to the Cavaliers this year, the team is unlikely to move on from him so quickly. Still, LeVert's service as the sixth man and bench leader would hurt Cleveland's current playmaker rotation. Thus, the Cavs look to add Patty Mills to the deal as a safety net if Craig Porter, Jr. cannot fulfill LeVert's playmaking duties or another injury occurs to one of the Cavs' guards.

For the Hawks, they bring in two solid defenders with shooting. Both players are on more manageable and shorter contracts than Hunter, giving the Hawks more flexibility for future moves. When the Hawks traded for Murray, their assumption was he would be the defensive anchor for the backcourt, alleviating Young's deficiencies. Unfortunately, the fit has been less-than-savory, likely leading to an inevitable split.

Conversely, LeVert has continually been one of Cleveland's best defensive guards alongside Isaac Okoro, holding opposing threats into bad possessions and forced shots at the end of the shot clock. Coupling that with Dean Wade's versatile defense and shooting, the Hawks undoubtedly improve their two-way depth in this deal. While they might look for draft compensation in return for Hunter, adding two proven defenders and shooters is a major lift for a struggling Atlanta club.

How do the Cavaliers look after this deal, though? Is losing LeVert worth it, or is it too big of a loss to take a chance on Hunter?