ESPN’s Zach Lowe has recently dropped another rendition of NBA trade deadline bombs just six days away from this season’s cutoff. The Chicago Bulls are littered throughout his reporting, including significant updates on Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and others. According to Lowe, one Bulls’ guard could be not-so-secretly worth more than each of those two former All-Stars, and a contender might fork up a lucrative package to reel him away from Chicago. Who’s the “most coveted” Chicago Bull, and how likely is it that he’s traded this week?
Alex Caruso Worth Multiple First-Round Picks
Interestingly enough, he was the only Chicago Bulls player in the final pool of players for the 2024 Team USA potential roster. Caruso has drawn interest from the league’s best teams for several years nearing the trade deadline, as his tenacious defense, improved three-point shooting, and championship experience make him the perfect fit for any perimeter and arguably one of the game’s best and brightest two-way players. Earning an All-NBA Defensive First Team nod last season, coupled with the best offensive stats he’s had in his seven years in the league, his price tag continues to inflate. He’s shooting a career-high 48.7% from the floor and 40.9% from three-point land and is averaging more shot attempts points per game than any other campaign.
Adding a 41% three-point shooter and All-NBA caliber defender to any roster will catapult it from playoff qualifier to championship contender. He’s often nights Chicago’s most valuable player and leads them this season in plus/minus. His energy, intelligence, and grit cannot be quantified or understated.
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Chicago’s Getting In Their Own Way
As is typical for the Chicago Bulls of recent memory, they’re heavily reluctant to trade Caruso again this season. Having offers of multiple first-round picks is no news to Arturas Karnisovas and the Bulls’ front office, as they faced a similar decision 12 months ago and opted to hold onto their star defensive wing. Last year’s reckless hope for a turnaround resulted in missing out on the postseason, and this year’s record is precisely identical to last season’s. Unless the Bulls intend to repeat, in every sense of the word, last year’s product and finish, they need to consider moving some of their depreciating assets before they’re worthless or walk in free agency.
“I just keep hearing from teams all over the league, ‘Everybody wants Caruso, so many teams want to engage the Bulls on Caruso,'” Lowe said. “They keep telling me the Bulls aren’t trading Caruso. They want to stay in the play-in race. They want to stay where they are. They’re telling us they don’t want to trade Caruso.”Zach Lowe via The Lowe Post Podcast
NBA Insider Marc Stein called the Bulls “flat-out resistant” to moving on from their best defensive player but added that his contract will expire next summer and Chicago’s simply wasting potential assets by holding on to him despite the lucrative offers being thrown their way. Using Lowe’s phrasing, the Bulls are seemingly admitting to wanting to remain stagnant, hovering at the .500 mark as they’ve done for the last two seasons consecutively, and fall short of a postseason appearance for the sixth time in seven seasons. One has to think Karnisovas and the front office group are on thin ice if that’s the case a few months from now, and no trades were executed for the third NBA trade deadline in a row.