Grade the Trade: Cleveland Cavaliers make all-in push in surprise deadline proposal

Utah Jazz v Chicago Bulls
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Do the Cavaliers say yes?

With their core already defined, the Cavaliers do not need any blockbuster trade to become a favorite in the East. Instead, they need to target league-best roleplayers.

Given Caruso's experience in the playoffs during the Los Angeles Lakers' 2020 Finals campaign, the one-time All-Defensive guard would easily round out Cleveland's rotation and improve the team on both ends of the court. As great of a defender as Okoro is, Caruso has already shown he can continue his production at the highest level.

Offensively, Caruso is shooting 40.5 percent of his 4.4 three-point attempts this season, averaging 10 points, 2.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.3 steals over 43 games. The 6-foot 3-inch championship guard is the definition of a two-way threat. On a $9.4 million contract with another year left, the Cavaliers add a premier leader for the second unit in this deal.

Additionally, Torrey Craig was a steal in this summer's free agency, signing with Chicago for only $2.5 million after a solid season with the Phoenix Suns a year prior. Though Craig has lost time to injury this season, he has continued building a track record as a high-end forward defender with a wealth of offensive versatility to match. At 6-foot 7-inches, Craig answers Cleveland's need for size in their forward rotation. While he would not likely receive minutes each night over Dean Wade and Georges Niang, Craig solidifies the Cavs' depth as one of the best in the NBA.

The integration of both Caruso and Craig into the Cavs' lineup is the perfect last-minute return in any trade deadline deal. After Ricky Rubio's buyout and retirement, Cleveland could use another veteran facilitator. Caruso does not specialize in orchestrating an offense, but he is the ideal complementary backcourt player for either of Cleveland's star guards.

Losing Okoro and Bates is not an easy choice, but the return makes this deal a no-brainer. Caruso and Craig are on friendly salaries and offer exactly what Cleveland needs to make a postseason run to the Finals.

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