Highly-Coveted Bulls Star Earns Telling Label Ahead of Trade Deadline

Chicago Bulls

Getty Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls.

With the NBA trade deadline less than two weeks away, the buzz around the Chicago Bulls (23-26) has grown. They still aren’t of the mind to usher in their next rebuild by all accounts – the likes of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic are still said to be off-limits.

Their next-best trade asset is Alex Caruso – who actually ranks ahead of Vucevic in NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson’s value rankings.

The “vultures are circling” the 28-year-old defensive ace, per Johnson’s previous reporting.

Those vultures might be plum out of luck despite the Bulls’ showing few signs of being able to sustain a turnaround. What’s more, that may not change even if they slide further into the depths of the Eastern Conference standings according to a new report detailing the potential trade market for the feisty veteran.

Alex Caruso The ‘Hardest Guard to Get’

“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.”

Caruso, 28, is a former champion earning a ring in 2020 with the Los Angeles Lakers and building a reputation that precedes him today.

He is averaging 5.6 points on 56.9% true shooting with 3.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.7 steals while knocking down 38.7% of his threes on 4.2 attempts. The 6-foot-4 utility man also leads the Bulls in net efficiency differential at plus-10.2, per Cleaning The Glass.

The final year of his four-year, $36.9 million contract is only guaranteed for $3 million in 2025.

“The Knicks have scouted Caruso of late and own first-round picks that could be dangled with a contract like Obi Toppin if the Bulls show any inclination of trading their defensive ace,” Johnson previously reported. “The Golden State Warriors also are cited by league sources as a potential suitor.”

That Caruso has been so difficult is no surprise, either. The Bulls know full well just what he brings to the team.

“Caruso could be the one untouchable because of how valuable he is defensively and in the plus/minus category,” writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times singling out one of the Bulls’ few legitimate two-way threats before adding, “but that remains to be seen.”

Bulls Could Be Repeating The Same Mistakes

The only concern if you are the Bulls is that you are once again overvaluing your asset. It’s something they have been accused of when it comes to third-year forward Patrick Williams who has progressed but at a far slower rate than they anticipated.

Caruso’s value is undeniable.

What he means to this team’s success is where things get tricky because, like many of their other potential assets, they are more valuable if the Bulls plan on trying to remain competitive.

If the Bulls got a good enough offer, surely they would have to at least consider accepting it. But Moore’s note that some teams have dropped out for fear they could not win a bidding war is a double-edged sword. Sure, there are plenty of teams still remaining as potential suitors but how long with they wait for the Bulls to see things their way?

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