Bulls Have Considered Changes to ‘Coveted’ Star’s Role

Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls

Getty Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls.

Amid their sluggish start to the season, the Chicago Bulls have already made changes to the starting lineup, and head coach Billy Donovan could consider more.

That could include starting Alex Caruso but they don’t want to overtax the oft-injured guard.

“Coach Billy Donovan admitted Monday that he and his staff had kicked around the idea of inserting Caruso into the starting lineup last week but couldn’t get over a few obstacles,” wrote Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times on November 7. “Specifically, how to space out Caruso’s minutes.”

“If you do start him and hypothetically give him three stints, then his minutes in the first half are up around 15 or 16, then you’re trying to close with him in a game,” Donovan said, per Cowley. ‘‘History shows us that if that’s done over a long period of time, it becomes challenging.”

“Chicago has always seemed reluctant to start Alex Caruso,” wrote Dan Favale of Bleacher Report on November 7. “The energy he expends on defense isn’t conducive to a high-minutes role, and bringing him off the bench makes it easier to monitor his minutes.”

“I’m not saying he can never do that,” Donovan said, per Cowley. “The most important thing with Alex is availability. He helps our team when he’s out there.’’

His value around the league has been back in the spotlight.

Lakers Could Make Trade Offer for Alex Caruso

According to one executive who spoke with Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney, the Los Angeles Lakers could look to pursue a trade for Caruso this season if both teams continue on their current trajectory.

“’Coveted’ is a good word for him. If you want to make a trade tomorrow they could trade Alex Caruso,” the executive said, per Deveney on November 7. “Half the teams in the league would be there with an offer. There’s a lot of teams monitoring that situation and they’re looking at Caruso more than anyone on that roster.”

The executive noted that it was a matter of whether or not the Bulls were willing to let Caruso go in a trade.

They have so far maintained a high asking price in previous transaction windows.

“[L.A.] wouldn’t give up a (first-round) pick but they could give up (Jalen) Hood-Schifino and another contract if they wait until December 15. Or Max Christie, he has some value,” the executive said. “They’re not giving up a pick but they have young guys they can put up there.”

The Bulls’ willingness to part with Caruso or Zach LaVine is perhaps best demonstrated by their asking price for both stars despite their names floating in rumors.

Jevon Carter an Alternative to Starting Alex Caruso Over Coby White

“[Leaving Caruso on the bench] doesn’t preclude the Bulls from implementing changes,” Favale continued. “They need to open up the floor just as much as they need to reinvigorate the defense. Subbing out Coby White—who’s shooting just 23.7 percent from deep—for Jevon Carter would do both.”

The Bulls lineup with Caruso in White’s place alongside the four other starters from the win over Utah has a minus-117.5 net efficiency differential in eight possessions this season, per Cleaning The Glass.

We have yet to see Carter in that situation this season.

But White also boasts the best on-off differential on the team with Patrick Williams right behind him. Carter’s rating, meanwhile, is better than only Ayo Dosunmu and DeMar DeRozan among the Bulls’ main rotation.