It has gotten to the point where one team insider has stepped in to clear the air.
“Seeing Alex Caruso speculation almost daily, now tied to Bulls potentially having “fire sale” if LaVine is dealt,” NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson posted on X on November 16. “FWIW, Bulls have rebuffed all Caruso overtures in past and, at least as of now, I’ve heard nothing to indicate they have interest in dealing him.”
Caruso, 29, is averaging 8.6 points, 4.0 rebounds (career-high), 2.5 assists, and 1.4 steals this season. He is shooting 60.8% from the floor overall and 44.8% from beyond the arc. The points, rebounds, and efficiency are all highs of his Bulls tenure.
But his real impact comes on the other end of the floor. Caruso earned First Team All-Defensive honors last season and is off to another strong start this season.
He is also a champion, helping the Los Angeles Lakers hoist banner No. 17 in 2020.
Caruso is in the second year of a four-year, $36.9 million contract. His reasonable pact only adds to his appeal around the league. That is particularly true for contenders. They oftentimes find themselves navigating salary cap constraints. That figures to only get more difficult under the new CBA.
Insider: Alex Caruso is ‘Bull That Most Teams Would Want’ in Trade
According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic on November 16, the Lakers would indeed be interested in Caruso if he is made available in a trade. Ditto for LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. But Marc Stein of The Stein Line believes there would be plenty of teams looking to add Caruso.
“Alex Caruso is the Bull that most teams would want,” Stein said on the “thisleague UNCUT” podcast on November 16. “If the Bulls decided to make Alex Caruso available, the line of teams chasing him would stretch into double digits.”
Stein’s co-host – Bleacher Report NBA insider Chris Haynes – said Caruso would be a “great addition” to the division rival Milwaukee Bucks on the previous installment of the podcast.
“I know a lot of people feel that way,” Haynes said on November 13.
Wide-spread interest in Caruso is not new, with his name also floating around trade rumors at the deadline last season. But, as has been the case with LaVine, the Bulls have maintained a high asking price for Caruso. Matt Moore of Action Network wrote that Caruso was the “hardest guard to get” on the market this past January.
Alex Caruso Right About Magic’s Paolo Banchero
Adding to the tension around the Bulls, they fell to four games below .500 at 4-8 following their 96-94 loss to the Orlando Magic on November 15. The game ended somewhat controversially with Magic big man Paolo Banchero appearing to travel on the go-ahead basket. Caruso noted he would be interested in the NBA’s Last 2 Minute report on the game to see if the call was missed.
“Banchero (ORL) lifts and replants his left pivot foot after his gather in the lane,” the report via the NBA Officials portal reads.
Kendall Gill of Bulls Postgame Live suggested that Nikola Vucevic should have come over to help Caurso defend Banchero. That may have prevented a shot from even being attempted. But it was not the only thing the L2M report revealed.
There was also a potential 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 tended to a personal matter. With DeRozan’s status for the Bulls’s next game – a rematch with the Magic on November 17 – in doubt, the trade speculation could grow even louder very soon.