Knicks trade makes Chicago Bulls look even worse

Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns
Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Chicago Bulls started their offseason by trading Alex Caruso to the Thunder for Josh Giddey. 

It was a lackluster return for the Bulls’ best trade asset, especially given Giddey’s struggles in the playoffs and the fact that he is on an expiring contract and will likely be a restricted free agent at the end of next season. 

Their return for Caruso looks even worse after the Knicks gave up a king’s ransom in picks in a trade for Mikal Bridges, sending five 1st-round picks, a second and a swap to the Nets:

While the two trades aren’t exactly the same, it makes the Bulls’ move look even worse. 

Chicago Bulls: Destroying your own market 

Mikal Bridges and Alex Caruso are far from the same player. Bridges is younger, a better all-around player and under contract for two more seasons on a team-friendly deal.

He’s clearly more valuable than Caruso and no one expected the Bulls to get that kind of haul for a 30-year-old on an expiring deal, regardless of how good he is defensively. 

But that much more? 

The Knicks and Kings reportedly both offered the Bulls picks in exchange for Caruso but the Bulls stubbornly only had eyes for Giddey, which killed their own market. 

The Bulls should have had all of the leverage with multiple teams vying for their guy, but instead limited their return by dealing with OKC, a team famously reluctant to ever give up a draft pick. 

Giddey has his selling points. He’s only 21, has started for a good team and is a good playmaker and rebounder. But he’s also shown his limitations, which teams are going to target relentlessly until he figures them out. 

Related Story. Latest Mock Draft has Bulls selecting Alex Caruso's replacement. Latest Mock Draft has Bulls selecting Alex Caruso's replacement. dark

That’s a lot of risk that could have been mitigated by getting something else in the deal. It’s hard to believe the Bulls couldn’t have played all of those teams against one another and gotten more for Caruso. 

Picks are not just about the prospect of young talent, they are currency for trades, as we just saw with the Knicks, who used a boatload of them for a player who could help push them over the top. 

The Bulls are far from being in that position, but never will be if they don’t acquire some draft assets that they can either use to replenish their talent pool or trade for better players. 

If Josh Giddey is great, the Bulls will look like geniuses. If he’s mediocre and the Bulls have to overpay in restricted free agency just to keep him, this trade will continue to hurt the Bulls into the future.