The Chicago Bulls may have helped their cause with their win over the Dallas Mavericks on April 7.
“The way forward for Dallas is clear. It has no choice but to…move anything that’s not nailed down to bring back enough defensive punch to keep Luka Dončić from becoming the next superstar to demand a trade,” argues Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report. “Alex Caruso…is on the shortlist of the league’s best backcourt on-ball pests.”
– Reggie Bullock
– 2023 1st Rd Pick
– Alex Caruso
“The Caruso deal hinges on Dallas keeping its first-rounder,” Hughes writes. “The Bulls would also have to embrace a more future-focused mentality to consider giving up such a valuable vet for a late lottery pick, although Bullock and his career 38.4 percent knockdown rate from deep could help a win-now version of the Bulls improve a dead-last ranking in three-point attempts.
Dropping that game afforded the Mavericks a better shot at retaining their first-round draft pick which is supposed to convey to the New York Knicks as their final obligation from the trade for Kristaps Porzingis but is top-10 protected.
The Bulls are slated to hand over their first-rounder to the Orlando Magic to finalize the Nikola Vucevic trade unless it falls in the top-four selections in the NBA Draft Lottery on May 16.
Dallas finished the season one spot ahead of Chicago in the draft lottery.
As it stands, the Bulls have an 8.5% chance of retaining the pick, per Tankathon. They even have a 1.8% chance at landing the No. 1 overall pick and 7-foot-4 French phenom Victor Wembanyama. Had they finished with a worse record than Dallas, Chicago would have a 13.9% chance at keeping their first-round pick and a 3.0% chance at No. 1.
This deal could help them add more youth to the pipelines or make a subsequent deal.
Alex Caruso Drew Plenty of Interest at the Trade Deadline
Caruso, 29, averaged 5.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists this past season shooting 45.5% from the floor, 36.4% from beyond the arc, and 80.8% at the free-throw line. His modest stat line belies his true impact on both ends of the floor even if defense is his calling card.
That tenacity made him a relatively hot commodity at the trade deadline.
“The hardest guard on the market to get? Chicago’s Alex Caruso, who nearly a dozen teams have serious interest in,” writes Matt Moore of The Action Network. “But Chicago knows the market for him. Some teams have backed away, believing they won’t be able to win a bidding war for Caruso.”
The one-time NBA champion is heading into the third year of a four-year, $36.9 million contract and figures to draw plenty of interest once again this offseason.
Chicago stood pat for the third straight transaction window including last offseason and the 2021-22 trade deadline.
But after taking a step back this season, changes could be on the horizon.
Arturas Karnisovas Vows to Change Shooting Profile
Bullock is heading into the final year of a three-year, $30 million pact and, to Hughes’ point, has shot 37.8% from deep on no fewer than 5.1 attempts per game in four of the last five seasons which he split between the Mavs and Knicks.
Only one player on the Bulls took at least that many threes last season – Zach Lavine.
Moving out the sometimes shot-averse Caruso for the three-point happy Bullock would fit Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas’ offseason goal.
This summer should be an interesting one since Karnivoas also alluded to bringing back much of the same group perhaps at least to start next season.