3-Time NBA Champion Floated as Return in Potential Alex Caruso Bulls Trade

Alex Caruso, Javonte Green

Getty Javonte Green #24, Alex Caruso #6, Chicago Bulls

In a January 2 The Ringer story, Michael Pina made 14 NBA predictions for 2023. At no. 9, in his own words, Pina predicted that “whoever coughs up a first-round pick for Alex Caruso will not regret it.” Among the teams that Pina thinks could be interested in Caruso is the Memphis Grizzlies, who could involve the Chicago Bulls guard’s former teammate, Danny Green.

Pina explained how the two sides could make a deal work.

“(Green’s) contract plus a lightly protected future first-round pick for Caruso is the exact type of move the Grizzlies should make—both as a way to boost their immediate championship odds and a way to give themselves some insurance in case Dillon Brooks’s asking price as an unrestricted free agent soars out of their price range this summer,” Pina said.

Caruso is slated to make $9.03 million this season, while Green is slated to make $10 million, so financially, a deal could easily be struck. If the Bulls decide that they want to rebuild, Caruso may just go on the market, and the Grizzlies might just have the assets to acquire him should they decide to trade his former Los Angeles Lakers teammate for him.

Pina Explains Why Caruso Would Be a ‘Savvy Addition’

Pina explained that because there is no title favorite among NBA teams this year and with many vying for the title, Caruso would be an appealing trade target.

“Here’s a role player every contender should be tripping over themselves to acquire before the trade deadline. In a season with no prohibitive title favorite and nearly a third of the league believing they’re good enough to win it all, Caruso would be a savvy addition for literally every playoff team,” Pina said.

Pina then added that Caruso’s abilities, along with his cheap contract, would make him appealing to any team who’s trying to win.

“Any time you can add an intuitive, tenacious, all-around defender who always knows where he and his teammates are supposed to be, ranks second in defensive estimated plus/minus, possesses championship experience, hits nearly 40 percent of his spot-up threes, is a deflection machine, and on an absolute steal of a contract (that was too rich for the Lakers’ blood), you should probably do it.”

Warriors and Knicks Listed as Possible Caruso Destinations

In a December 27 NBC Sports Chicago story, Bulls insider K.C. Johnson detailed who was among the Bulls’ best trade assets. Caruso was ranked no. 3, where Johnson listed the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks as possible trade destinations for Caruso.

“The defensive-minded guard would be a plug-and-play reserve — and closer — for virtually any contender or team serious about making a playoff push. Golden State has been one prominently mentioned rumor. The Knicks also make sense,” Johnson said.

Both the Warriors and the Knicks are in the thick of their conference’s playoff hunts and would greatly benefit from having someone like Caruso on their team, given his abilities, as Pina mentioned as well as his championship experience. Both teams have young players, first-round picks, and contracts to match in a possible deal for Caruso.

It will all depend on if the 16-21 Bulls are ready to deal.

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