The rumors are running rampant as the trade deadline approaches, and the Bulls continue to let winnable games slip away and fall in the standings. While some may carry more validity than others, the closer it gets to the February 9th deadline, the more murmurs are coming to the surface. Senior NBA Reporter Jake Fischer recently spoke on his podcast about the Eastern Conference teams on the edge of the playoff picture, and if they might buy or sell at the deadline, his Bulls’ take may surprise most. After initially being deemed “untouchable” by the organization, rumors have now surfaced that Alex Caruso could be dealt and that the asking price is steeper than expected.
Reload Rather Than Rebuild
Chicago is in a challenging position, and the roller coaster of a season they’ve had only complicates things further. Having just signed Zach Lavine to a max-contract extension, star DeMar DeRozan seeking his own this offseason, and Nikola Vucevic’s contract expiring this summer, they are stuck amid a crossroads. While this unit has shown flashes throughout the season and was an exciting team a year ago, without injured Lonzo Ball, they’ve looked like a completely different team and may have to pick a direction before his return to play.
Backed up against the wall at four games under .500 and out of the playoff picture entirely, the first name coming to the surface is Alex Caruso. With his defensive prowess, veteran leadership, and three-point shooting ability, the Bulls believe they can get quite the haul in return for his services.
Depending on how much a team values one of the league’s best perimeter defenders, this is not entirely out of the question. A playoff team with championship aspirations could very well trade future firsts in exchange for Caruso, much like the Mavericks or Warriors, both beneath league average in defensive rating. Caruso currently ranks as the best perimeter defender on the Defensive Estimated Plus-Minus metric and in 538’s Defensive Raptor Ratings, he has a championship ring with the Los Angeles Lakers and is primed to make his first All-Defensive First Team.
Using Fanspo’s NBA Trade Machine and keeping both teams’ outspoken asking prices in mind, here are a few hypothetical trades we could see for Alex Caruso in the coming weeks.
Wiseman For Caruso Swap
Golden State Warriors Receive: Alex Caruso
Chicago Bulls Receive: James Wiseman, 2023 Golden State’s First-Round Selection
While the two first-round selections asking price is not met, James Wiseman is a 21-year-old big man still on his rookie contract. With Nikola Vucevic’s contract expiring following this season and Wiseman’s inability to find consistent minutes in Golden State’s rotation, he could be a great addition to the Windy City. Steve Kerr has also been outspoken about his desire to bring Caruso to the Warriors. At the expense of an underdeveloped Wiseman plus a late 20’s draft pick, it’s very possible.
Carushow To Dallas
Dallas Mavericks Receive: Alex Caruso (Chicago pays for $2.1 million of his salary)
Chicago Bulls Receive: JaVale McGee (buyout), 2024 & 2026 Mavericks’ First-Round Selections
While meeting the Bulls’ asking price of two first-round picks and throwing in McGee, who averages eight minutes a game for salary purposes, this deal is very plausible. With Luka Doncic playing at an MVP level and only a few pieces away from a championship run, don’t be surprised if the Mavericks go ‘all-in’ this trade deadline at the expense of the future. With deep postseason runs in their near future, these picks would likely be mid-to-late 20s and a fair swap for one of the league’s best two-way players.
While the asking price for Caruso seems too steep to get any deals done, many teams get desperate at the deadline and are willing to deal more than usual at the opportunity for a championship banner. Chicago themselves nearly traded a top-five pick just a year ago for a veteran wing-man at the deadline. With the constantly growing prices for superstars, this might be the cheapest legitimate option contenders have for bolstering their roster.
Whats the difference between the Bulls and a dollar? The dollar is good for 4 quarters.
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