Exploring Alex Caruso’s Future: Trade Scenarios Amid Speculation of Bulls Restructuring

Here are three dark-horse teams that could swoop in and trade for Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso this season.

Several teams across the NBA are closely monitoring the situation with the Chicago Bulls, whose season is once again off to a rocky start. Should the losses continue to pile up this season, the Bulls could be in for a massive fire sale prior to the February trade deadline. The three stars — Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic — will certainly garner a lot of interest around the league. But the player who is getting the most attention is guard Alex Caruso.

NBA reporter Marc Stein recently said on his podcast that over 10 teams would fall in line should the Bulls make Caruso available for trade. It’s easy to see why. Caruso is on a team-friendly $9.5 million price tag this season. He is also a winning player because of how well he plays within his role, especially as a menace on the defensive side of the floor.

Teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Miami Heat headline the potential Caruso suitors. But like we’ve seen in the past, like in the Damian Lillard sweepstakes, an out-of-left-field team could swoop in and take the defensive specialist from out of nowhere. With that said, here are three dark-horse trade destinations for Alex Caruso if the Bulls blow it up.

Indiana Pacers

One dark-horse team that could trade for Alex Caruso’s services is the Indiana Pacers. A lot expected the Pacers to take a leap this season. But not many saw them to make this big of a jump. After winning just 35 games last season, the Pacers are off to a torrid start, particularly on the offensive side of the floor. Indiana tops the league in offensive rating (122.0), points per game (126.5), and assists per game (30.8) and is second in the NBA in pace.

While the offense is on pace to be the best in NBA history, the defense is one of the worst in the league so far. The Pacers rank just 27th in defensive rating and give up the second-most points on a nightly basis. It’s clear that the offense is what is keeping Indiana afloat. You have to wonder if that will be sustainable for the entire season and would be enough to vault them into the postseason.

With that, the Pacers must make a move to improve their defense and they should strongly consider going after Alex Caruso. Caruso is going to a perfect fit alongside Tyrese Haliburton in the backcourt. Though he plays solid team defense, Haliburton isn’t really known for being a lockdown on-ball defender. The Pacers don’t have a great point-of-attack defender, so Caruso should be able to fill that role easily. In addition, Caruso would be a terrific veteran mentor and a much-needed culture setter for this young team.

Toronto Raptors

Another Eastern Conference squad that could trade for Alex Caruso is the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors were recently linked as a potential landing spot for Zach LaVine. Sure, LaVine makes sense because he would give the Raptors the boost they need offensively, where they rank just 27th in the NBA. However, given LaVine’s expensive price tag, getting him would require them to give up a ton of their depth, which would be the downside of this deal.

With that, Toronto could instead trade for Alex Caruso. As mentioned, Caruso comes in at a much cheaper contract. However, there are reports that the Bulls are keen on acquiring multiple first round picks for the defensive specialist. The Raptors currently have all of their first rounders from 2025 to 2030, so they definitely have the assets to pull off a deal. But are they willing to part ways with such valuable assets, if they eventually intend to restart anew and rebuild around Scottie Barnes? That’s quite the dilemma.

NBA Rumors: Raptors Trade For Bulls' Alex Caruso In Bold Proposal

Still, Caruso would be a major boost in the backcourt and would further strengthen Toronto’s top-8 defense. While he isn’t a volume shooter from beyond the arc, Caruso still knocks down his threes at an efficient rate. This season, the Bald Mamba is cashing in on 50.0 percent of his triples, while making 1.5 per game.

In case it doesn’t work out and Masai Ujiri finally decides to pull the plug on this roster, they could easily recoup the draft capital they lose in acquiring Caruso in the eventual Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby trades.

Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets could also be a solid landing spot for Alex Caruso. Like the Raptors, the Nets aren’t incentivized to tank this season because they also don’t have their 2024 pick.

Ben Simmons is already having issues with his back. While the Nets revealed that it’s not as catastrophic as the injuries that kept him out for the better part of the last two years, this is still a situation worth monitoring.

With that, perhaps the Nets should target Alex Caruso in a trade. Trading for Caruso makes sense for the Nets because, not only will they want to keep winning games, they would also want to improve their defense. Brooklyn ranks just 23rd in defensive rating this season. Simmons is ideally the guy who should take on the opposing team’s best perimeter player. But given his injury history, things could go south real quick if he ends up missing a bunch of games.

Caruso would obviously be tasked to be the primary POA defender. But he’d also be a great insurance policy in case Simmons ends up on the sidelines again.

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