Proposed Trade Sees Bulls Ship $36M Star for Former No. 2 Pick

Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls

Getty Alex Caruso #6 of the Chicago Bulls celebrates a play.

The Chicago Bulls are fast approaching a crossroads at which they must decide if they are content to just let this season play out – even as it has gone counter to how they may have hoped – or to pivot.

Even pivoting would give them options.

Do they make a deal to fortify their ranks, perhaps clear up the logjam at guard and add some depth on the wings and in the frontcourt? Or do they target those same positions to build more toward the future in hopes of also retaining their draft pick next year? They are currently slated to hand it over to the Orlando Magic for the second time in three years.

If they go the latter route, then perhaps they can play off a rumor that seemed to start to play out on live television after their loss to the Golden State Warriors with veteran Alex Caruso.

Who Says No?

In the wake of the Bulls’ 119-111 defeat on the road at Golden State, Warriors head coach (and former Bulls sharpshooter) Steve Kerr could be seen having a fairly lengthy talk with Caruso who was floated in a hypothetical trade package by Bill Simmons on “The Bill Simmons Podcast” on November 29.

Many on Twitter attempted to read the highly-decorated coach’s lips and came away with something along the lines of, “I’d love to have you.”

Potential tampering by Kerr aside, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer had a suggestion.

Bulls Get:

Warriors Get:

  • Alex Caruso

As far as hypothetical trade scenarios go, this one is as straightforward as it gets. The money and the fit for both teams make sense on the surface.

The Bulls’ aforementioned logjam at guard includes promising youngster Ayo Dosunmu and the mercurial Coby White who still has talent albeit without the kind of consistency that Caruso brings to the table. Head coach Billy Donovan cited that very reason for starting Caruso over Dosunmu against the Warriors.

Caruso is averaging 5.6 points, 3.7 assists, and 2.7 rebounds in 25 minutes per game.

Despite the modest statistical output, he leads the team in net rating at plus-14.8, per Cleaning The Glass, and was a team-high plus-17 versus the Dubs despite scoring just two points on 1-of-4 shooting.

That’s because he also dished out six assists to just one turnover and had a steal. With all that he does, the Bulls would be banking on Wiseman’s still untapped potential were they to agree to this trade.


Wiseman’s failure to launch is very much like that of third-year Bulls forward Patrick Williams who was demoted to a bench role along with Dosunmu against the Warriors. Williams was taken two picks behind Wiseman so the Bulls would roster 40% of the 2020 NBA Draft’s top 5 picks.

But Wiseman – who is averaging 6.8 points and 3.8 boards this season – missed all of his second season and the regression has hit hard.

So much so that Kerr sent him to work on his game with the Warriors G League affiliate. But Wiseman’s issues followed him to Santa Clara as he posted plus-minuses of minus-13, minus-7, minus-2 (twice), minus-11, and minus-4 before being a net positive in the most recent outing that saw him record a double-double.

Most importantly, he helped secure a victory.

The 7-foot big man had recorded positive plus-minuses in just two of his 11 appearances with the Warriors with the team going 1-1 in those games.

Bulls Not Tanking Yet

It’s not like the Bulls have the same level of expectations for the season as the defending champion Warriors. But it is still disappointing that Wiseman is having such a hard time making a positive impact just as it is with Williams.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that teams are waiting for the Bulls to make any of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, or Nikola Vucevic available in a trade.

But he added that the Bulls are not there yet.

Perhaps their stance changes as we get closer to the trade deadline in February. But, again, that doesn’t mean Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas is going to shoot for the top of the lottery. He could very well try to further balance out the current roster with shooting or perimeter defenders, of which Wiseman is neither.

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