Title Hopeful ‘Inquired’ About Bulls’ Alex Caruso With Trade Deadline Looming

The Chicago Bulls have just days to sort through their plans as the February 8 trade deadline looms. And their most significant player in terms of a potential trade, Zach LaVine, is now out for the season, all but eliminating that possibility.

Perhaps they turn their attention to other players on the roster, some of whom have generated substantial trade interest around the league.

“League sources indicated that even before LaVine’s surgery news had broken, multiple teams, including the Golden State Warriors, had inquired on Caruso,” NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson wrote on February 3. “To this point, management largely had rebuffed interest in Caruso because an internal focus centered on chasing a playoff spot.”

Caruso, 29, is in the third year of a four-year, $36.9 million contract.

He is averaging career-highs with 10.1, 3.6 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, and 4.4 threes, connecting on 40.5%.

This is not the trade rumor involving the Warriors and Caruso. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr appeared to express his affinity for the 2023 All-Defensive first-teamer, Caruso, following a meeting between the two teams in December 2022.

Looks like “I’d love to have you man” https://t.co/UQiS6J9UkD pic.twitter.com/Y9Wk6oAIAE

— ✶ Ⓜ️𝕒𝕣𝕔𝕦𝕤 ▶️ ✶ (@_MarcusD3_) December 3, 2022

“I think Caruso is one of the best defensive guards in the league,” Kerr told reporters after the game.

The Warriors are 21-25 and in 12th place in the Western Conference standings. They have lost three of their last five games. They could be in a position to make a trade in hopes of making another title run. But when asked about this trade cycle, Caruso said his focus is on basketball.

Alex Caruso Gets Honest About Trade Deadline

“Out of my control completely,” Caruso said, per Johnson. “I’m more focused on playing against the Kings. And then we got five more games until All-Star break until I can mentally relax. Whatever they decide to do is their decision. My job as an employee of this team is to show up and do my duty. And that’s to play basketball. That’s what I’m focused on.”

He may not have much to worry about anyway.

Coby dimes up AC!@NBCSChicago | @CobyWhite pic.twitter.com/Ok2xlmTyGJ

— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 31, 2024

The Bulls have long rebuffed calls on Caruso and, like teammate DeMar DeRozan, they have designs on keeping him around even beyond next season.

“Unless a team comes in with an offer the Bulls can’t refuse, Caruso isn’t going anywhere,” the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley wrote on February 2. “The hope is the two sides can try working on an extension this summer.”

Of course, that was before LaVine’s season-ending surgery. Their plans may change now.

What Bulls Could Expect Back in Alex Caruso Trade

Cowley speculates that Caruso could fetch a “young player and a protected pick” in a trade. That seems to be in the same range as other reports.

“Chicago has indicated the Bulls would need multiple first-round picks to even consider parting with Caruso, according to league sources,” Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote on January 24. “If Chicago even truly considers moving him at all.”

AIR CARUSO.@NBCSChicago | @ACFresh21 pic.twitter.com/H18dA7T5bl

— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 1, 2024

There was an expectation that the Bulls could have to attach assets to trade LaVine.

That is not likely to be the case with Caruso if they decide to change directions dramatically in the next few days.

As it stands, they were only expected to make minor moves before. LaVine was the central figure for anything bigger. Now, veterans like Andre Drummond – who is already drawing interest – and Jevon Carter could be more likely candidates to be traded.

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This article was originally published on Heavy.com

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