Getty Alex Caruso #6 of the Chicago Bulls.
Amid the swirling trade winds surrounding Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine, his teammates aren’t spared from the fray.
It got to the point where a team insider intervened to clarify the situation.
“I see speculation about Alex Caruso almost daily that now suggests the Bulls may have a ‘fire sale’ if LaVine is dealt,” NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider KC Johnson posted on Nov. 16. At least so far I have “We haven’t heard anything to suggest they’re interested in doing business with him.”
The 29-year-old Caruso is averaging 8.6 points, 4.0 rebounds (career high), 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals this season. Overall, he is shooting 60.8% from the floor and 44.8% from distance. The points, rebounds and efficiency are all highlights of his tenure with the Bulls.
But his real impact comes at the other end of the floor. Caruso earned First Team All-Defensive honors last season and is off to another strong start this season.
There’s a reason Alex Caruso will stay in the NBA for more than 10 years
There’s a reason he got 40 million
Here’s 3 minutes explaining what he does in case anyone is confused pic.twitter.com/oPnP73jSCS
— Hoop Fiends 🏀💉 (@hoopfiends) November 10, 2023
He’s also a champion, helping the Los Angeles Lakers raise the No. 17 banner in 2020.
Caruso is in the second year of a three-year, $36.9 million contract. His sensible pact only adds to his appeal in the league. This is especially true for applicants. They often have to deal with salary cap restrictions. With the new CBA, this is only likely to become more difficult.
Insider: Alex Caruso is the “bull most teams would want” in the trade.
According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha on November 16, the Lakers would actually be interested in Caruso if he were made available in a trade. The same goes for LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. But Marc Stein of The Stein Line believes there will be plenty of teams looking to sign Caruso.
“Alex Caruso is the Bull that most teams would want,” Stein said on the “thisleague UNCUT” podcast on November 16th. “If the Bulls decided to make Alex Caruso available, the number of teams pursuing him would be in the double digits.”
Stein’s co-host – Bleacher Report NBA Insider Chris Haynes – said in the previous episode of the podcast that Caruso would be a “great addition” to the division rival Milwaukee Bucks.
“I know a lot of people feel that way,” Haynes said Nov. 13.
The great interest in Caruso is not new, as his name was also in the rumor mill at the deadline last season. But as with LaVine, the Bulls have maintained a high price for Caruso. Action Network’s Matt Moore wrote that Caruso was the “toughest guard” on the market last January.
Alex Caruso is right about Magic’s Paolo Banchero
Adding to the tension around the Bulls was that they fell to four games under .500 after a 96-94 loss to the Orlando Magic on Nov. 15, going 4-8. The game ended somewhat controversially when Magic big man Paolo Banchero appeared to be on the court going for the basket. Caruso noted that he would be interested in the NBA’s last-two-minute report on the game to see if the call was missed.
“Banchero (ORL) raises and re-inserts his left pivot foot after gathering in the lane,” reads the report via the NBA Officials Portal.
Bulls Postgame Live’s Kendall Gill suggested that Nikola Vucevic should have come over to help Caurso defend Banchero. That might have prevented a shot from even being attempted. But that wasn’t the only thing the L2M report revealed.
There was also a possible foul by Caruso on Magic forward Franz Wagner that was missed. In the end, it was another tough loss for the Bulls, who were without DeRozan as he attended to a personal matter. With DeRozan’s status for the Bulls’ next game – a rematch with the Magic on Nov. 17 – in doubt, trade speculation could get even louder very soon.
Josh Buckhalter covers the NBA for Heavy.com, with a focus on the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. He lives in Villa Park, Illinois. Follow Josh on Twitter and Instagram: @JoshGBuck More about Josh Buckhalter