With the Chicago Bulls struggling mightily right now, it’s about time we start talking about a potential Alex Caruso trade. Of course, he’s not an All-Star caliber player like DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine, but he’s one of the best defensive players in the league, and a championship-caliber role player who could even fetch a first-round pick in return.
The Bulls are likely to blow their roster up. The aforementioned duo of All-Stars should be on their way out, and the same can be said of Nikola Vucevic, and who knows? Maybe even Coby White and Patrick Williams. That leaves the team little incentive to hold onto Caruso and vice versa.
Alex Caruso trade possibilities & best fits
A Bulls rebuild seems long overdue. Moving on from Caruso, who’s not one of the best defensive players in NBA history, but should enter that conversation if we talk about the past decade alone, could be a step in the right direction for that.
The Caruso to Lakers rumors flooded social media and forums as soon as they let him go. It was a big mistake by the Rob Pelinka administration, and they have yet to find a player who can bring the same kind of grit on the defensive end of the floor.
The Lakers could wait until half of their roster becomes trade-eligible and make an offer consisting of Max Christie, Gabe Vincent, and a first-round pick in return for Alex Caruso and Torrey Craig, but the Bulls might not be that happy about that.
Truth be told, the Lakers don’t have good trade assets, but somehow, someway, they still find ways to get teams to take their spare parts. The Bulls haven’t made good deals lately, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see them do the same this time.
An Alex Caruso trade could cement the Denver Nuggets even further. They’re the reigning NBA champions and have been the best team in the Western Conference by a significant margin, but they still need to make up for the tough loss of Bruce Brown Jr.
The Nuggets lost Brown in free agency, and they could use someone who can cut, slash, and also put his body on the line on the defensive end of the floor. He could even slide into the starting lineup for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The Denver Nuggets could try and send Reggie Jackson‘s expiring deal alongside the likes of Christian Braun, Julian Strawther, and prospects like Peyton Watson and Zeke Nnaji, and a couple of second-round picks to the Bulls. That would be a nice haul.
Alex Caruso would turn the Milwaukee Bucks into the best team in the Eastern Conference in the blink of an eye. He’d fix their never-ending defensive woes, and he’d hide Damian Lillard on that end of the floor to finally help him be more free on offense.
However, there are two major issues to consider here. For starters, the Chicago Bulls don’t usually deal with divisional rivals. On the other hand, it’s not like the Bucks have anything even slightly worthy of the Bulls’ attention.
As of now, the best they could offer would be a package centered on MarJon Beauchamp, Pat Connaughton, a first-round pick — which would be swapped with the New Orleans Pelicans, and a second-round pick. That’s a long shot, to say the least.
The New York Knicks have been after every single big-name player that has been rumored to be available in the past couple of years. They’ve struck out over and over, and chances are that will happen again when they try to pursue the likes of Zach LaVine or DeMar DeRozan.
With that in mind, perhaps they would be better off targeting smaller profiles, which means they could get Alex Caruso. They have the assets to outdo every offer the Bulls will potentially get, and he’d become Tom Thibodeau’s favorite player right away.
If the Knicks believe they won’t reach an agreement on a new deal with Immanuel Quickley, then perhaps they could trade him along with Isaiah Hartenstein, DaQuan Jeffries, and a first-round pick in exchange for Caruso, Drummond, and Dalen Terry.
The Philadelphia 76ers got plenty of financial flexibility and assets in the James Harden trade. And while most scouts believe they’re going to wait until a superstar becomes available to make the most of those trade chips, they could make some minor, yet impactful deals.
The Sixers are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference but they’re still not on the same level as, say, the Boston Celtics. Adding an elite perimeter defender could do wonders for them, especially considering they would have another stopper on the court when they have to face Damian Lillard.
To get him, Daryl Morey could try and use the expiring salaries of Danuel House Jr. and Furkan Korkmaz, as well as promising rotation players like Jaden Springer, K.J. Martin, and maybe even Mo Bamba or Paul Reed. Add a 2028 first-round pick to that mix, and the Bulls would be wise to take this deal.
Maybe people look at these trade offers and believe that it’s a big haul for Alex Caruso. Then again, he’s a hardnosed veteran with championship experience, and one of the guys who has proved that he can guard one through five despite his size — or lack thereof. While not the best scorer in the league, he’s the kind of defensive catalyst who could lead a team to the next level.