Chicago Bulls: Grading the signing of PG Alex Caruso

The second signing for the Chicago Bulls that made waves on the evening/night of Aug. 2 came in the form of the former Los Angeles Lakers standout defensive point guard Alex Caruso. The Bulls really raided the cabinet of the former young Lakers guard on that roster in LA three years ago. The two major signings for the Bulls on the day of the opening of the negotiation window in this cycle of free agency were Caruso and the former New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball.

It looks like the Bulls have essentially found the finishing touches to the backcourt unit heading into next season. Between signing Caruso and Ball, and drafting the former star junior Illinois Fighting Illini point guard Ayo Dosunmu this offseason, the Bulls look ready to go in the backcourt. Head coach Billy Donovan has his point guard of the future to help round out the starting backcourt.

And the bench got a solid addition that will also help to upgrade the team defensively in Caruso. In fact, the addition of both Lonzo and Caruso will help the Bulls get much better defending on the perimeter.

It’s hard not to like these two guard signings from Arturas Karnisovas to begin this cycle of free agency. Caruso especially was a good depth signing for the Bulls this summer. The Bulls signed Caruso for a four-year deal worth a total of around $37 million.

Caruso is the type of guard the Bulls could use to round out the backcourt rotation. He should be a solid second unit guard for the Bulls, that Donovan can use situationally to his benefit.

The Bulls really looked to need some help on the perimeter defensively this summer. Adding a guard like Caruso makes a lot of sense for this team. We had mentioned options in the past like the Bulls signing Kris Dunn, Frank Ntilikina, and/or Avery Bradley, this summer just to help out on the perimeter.

Chicago Bulls do extremely well to add perimeter help and outside shooting with Alex Caruso

But adding Caruso to the mix accomplishes this task. The difference between adding someone like Caruso and say Dunn or Bradley is the capability of the “Bald Eagle” as an outside shooter. Caruso shot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc last season, which is the second time he’s done that in his four-year-long NBA career.

Caruso was one of just five players around the NBA last season that averaged at least 20 minutes per game, more than 1.5 steals per 36 minutes, and shot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc. His versatility and a three-and-D guard that can also facilitate the offense in the second unit is something that would be hard to find for the Bulls otherwise this offseason.

And getting Caruso for a price tag around $9 million annually for this type of valued production in the modern game, which also fits almost an exact need for Donovan and the Bulls next season, is good work by Karnisovas.

Caruso could wind up playing in the second unit for the Bulls along with someone like to-be third-year point guard Coby White. Depending on how this backcourt unit shakes out over the course of next season, watch out for younger guards such as Devon Dotson and Dosunmu to challenge for playing time alongside Caruso.

We’ll keep saying it, this is a solid addition for the Bulls this offseason. Last season, Caruso averaged 6.4 points per game, 2.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.3 blocks. And he shot 43.6 percent from the field, 40.1 percent from beyond the arc, and 64.5 percent from the free-throw line.

The Bulls have now used more than $30 million in cap space combined between the signings of Lonzo and Caruso for next season. The average annual value on Lonzo’s contract (signed for four years total, worth $85 million) sits around $21.25 million. And the average annual value for Caruso’s contract sits at $9.25 million.

Grade: A-