Bulls Gave ‘Real Consideration’ to Trading Fan Favorite, Insider Says

Arturas Karnisovas, Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls

Getty Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas and head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls.

The reality of the Chicago Bulls’ situation had them considering altering a previously long-held stance.

Various reports said they had been turning away trade suitors for 2023 All-Defensive First-Teamer Alex Caruso. But the Bulls at least gave some thought to the idea of moving him at the deadline.

“The Bulls, league sources say, wound up giving real consideration to trading Caruso on Deadline Day after insisting for weeks that they wouldn’t,” The Stein Line’s Marc Stein wrote on February 20. “But Chicago’s talks with Golden State ultimately collapsed.”

Caruso has drawn interest from the Warriors and Head Coach Steve Kerr for a while.

NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson reported on the Warriors’ interest before the deadline.

“League sources indicated that … multiple teams, including the Golden State Warriors, had inquired on Caruso,” Johnson wrote on February 3. “To this point, management largely had rebuffed interest in Caruso because an internal focus centered on chasing a playoff spot.”

Kerr helped cause an internet firestorm after appearing to tell Caruso he would “love to have” him on the team amid trade rumors last season.

Caruso, 29, is in the third year of a four-year, $36.9 million contract.

Teams can hope that the Bulls fall short of their postseason goals and entertain trading Caruso this offseason. But he could remain one of the toughest players to land in a trade.

“Unless a team comes in with an offer the Bulls can’t refuse, Caruso isn’t going anywhere,” the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley wrote about the Bulls’ deadline plans on February 2. “The hope is the two sides can try working on an extension this summer.”

Caruso wasn’t the only Bull under consideration for a trade at the deadline.

Bulls Feared Lack of Depth in Nixed Andre Drummond Trade

HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported on February 16 that the Bulls held talks with the Philadelphia 76ers over backup big man Andre Drummond.

Chicago backed out late.

“The Bulls, league sources say, informed Philadelphia that they were keeping Andre Drummond, too, with the Sixers pressing to acquire the former All-Star center,” Stein wrote.

“One league source said that the Bulls were only willing to trade Drummond if they could arrange the acquisition of another center to replace him,” Stein continued. “When no such trade materialized, Chicago opted to keep Drummond in hopes that his rebounding … will help the 26-29 Bulls secure a Play-In Tournament berth in the East at the very least.”

DeMar DeRozan Reacts to Torrey Craig’s Injury

The Bulls may have returned from the break rested. But they are still a battered team. Multiple players are dealing with injuries, including Zach LaVine – who joins Lonzo Ball as out for the season – and Patrick Williams.

He remains without a solid return date.

The Bulls will also be without veteran Torrey Craig, who sprained his knee during a workout over the break. Teammate DeMar DeRozan lamented the loss, however long it may be.

“DeMar DeRozan on Torrey Craig injury: ‘It sucks,’” DeRozan said, per Johnson on February 21. “Said he wonders if Bulls walked across a black cat with all the bad injury luck they’ve had.”