Should the Chicago Bulls consider Alex Caruso untouchable?

Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bulls executives have recently denied any rumors of trading Alex Caruso, saying that he and Patrick Williams are not for sale. Caruso’s name has come up recently in potential trade deadline moves because of his defense and ability to fit anywhere on a team. He has shown tremendous versatility both in defensive sets and position-wise, able to play both guard spots as well as small forward at times. His tenacity and grit have earned the former undrafted player out of Texas A&M a prominent role on the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls’ disappointing season has led to plenty of chatter regarding a reset, with many claiming that the roster that Arturas Karnisovas built is not reaching its potential. This is a stark contrast to the sentiment that Bulls fans had this time a year ago, when they were 27-13 at the top of the Eastern Conference. However, injuries and struggles in crunch time have led to the Bulls considering blowing up the team.

Alex Caruso came to Chicago in 2021 on a 4-year, $37 million contract and was immediately a difference maker for the Bulls, bringing top-tier perimeter defense to a team that worried about that side of the ball. With all of the trade rumors surrounding Bulls players, are the execs right about keeping Caruso? Considering his impact on both offense and defense, as well as his potential return, the answer is debatable.

If the Chicago Bulls can’t turn the season around, it may be worth exploring an Alex Caruso trade.

Alex Caruso’s defensive and hustle stats are among the best in the league, especially on the perimeter. Caruso has a knack for staying in front of his defenders and using his quick hands to get into passing lanes and knock the ball loose. The stats back it up here as well:

  • Deflections per Game: 3.8 (2nd in NBA)
  • Deflections per 36: 5.6 (1st)
  • Contested Threes per 36: 4.2 (6th)
  • Steals per Game: 1.6 (8th)

Caruso has repeatedly been able to disrupt offenses, and this has been his strong point throughout his time with the Bulls. These clips are perfect examples of Caruso’s influence on the defensive end.

His defensive prowess often leads to highlight plays in transition, as seen here.

When looking at Caruso’s offensive stats, however, the question of whether or not to have him off limits becomes murky. AC’s most valuable stat on this side of the ball is his three-point percentage, which is currently at 39.5%. Caruso has been able to knock down threes extremely well this year, but outside of that, he has struggled offensively.

He is currently averaging only 5.6 points per game and is turning the ball over at a concerning rate. Caruso currently has a turnover percentage of 21.4%, which is the 3rd worst among qualified players, behind Draymond Green and Ben Simmons. These struggles have created a negative on the offensive end, which diminishes the tremendous impact he has had on defense.

Bulls management has had plenty to consider as the trade deadline approaches, and although they have said that Alex Caruso is not going to be traded, it will be interesting to see if a playoff team wants to make a move for AC. Teams like the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors have been mentioned in potential trade talks for Caruso, as he is a winning player that a playoff team needs. However, if the Bulls cannot turn their season around, it may be worth exploring a potential deal, especially if the return could be a first-rounder and a young player.

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