Chicago Bulls defensive specialist Alex Caruso has been the subject of trade rumors for several months now, but one top insider covering the team says Caruso isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports revealed on his January 26 ‘Please Don’t Aggregate This’ podcast that the Bulls were asking for two first-round picks in exchange for Caruso, and now, we may know why their price was so high.
Bulls insider Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times reported on January 29 that “a member of the organization shot down the idea of Caruso being on the trading block, which is what one report recently said. In fact, when the Bulls have received calls inquiring about Caruso, their asking price has been so astronomical that it all but confirmed a Sun-Times report that Caruso is basically untouchable.”
Cowley also spoke to the Bulls defensive standout about the rumors he may be traded.
Cowley on Alex Caruso: ‘He’s the Culture’ in Chicago
Caruso has 74 steals and 29 blocks in 43 games (17 starts), making him the the only Bulls player so far this season to amass at least 70 steals and 25 blocks. The sixth-year guard is also first in the NBA in deflections per 36 minutes, and his hustle and disruptive tendencies on defense have been true game-changers for Chicago.
Caruso’s numbers don’t jump off the page (he’s averaging 5.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals in just over 24 minutes a game), but that’s not the point. His efficiency and effectiveness have been invaluable assets — he’s shooting 38.7% from downtown and 43.9% from the field, and some analysts are saying he’s worthy of Defensive Player of the Year consideration.
For those reasons and more, the Bulls want to keep Caruso around. “He’s the culture,” a source told Cowley.
Caruso Has Strong Response to Trade Rumors
Cowley also spoke to Caruso about rumors the Bulls may trade him, and the 28-year-old guard had a candid and completely reasonable response.
“They also said I was getting traded in December,” Caruso said about the rumors, per Cowley. “I lived in L.A. for four years [playing for the Lakers], and that’s kind of what happens there. You just play basketball games and be a good teammate until something changes. If nothing changes, you just keep doing what you’re doing.”
If he keeps doing what he has been doing, it’s not likely the Bulls are going to move him — and as he’s a rotational player, it’s highly unlikely any team is going to surrender two first-rounders for him. Caruso also says he has no plans to to speak to Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas about the possibility he might be traded.
“No, because I came into the league just hoping to be on a team, so just being part of a team is good enough, wherever that is,” Caruso told Cowley. “Obviously, I want to keep wearing the red and white. I love my teammates here, the city, and I’m going to give all I can to whatever team I’m on. It’s just kind of my M.O.”