The Bulls Seem Like They Really Want to Keep Alex Caruso

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Do the Bulls Really Consider Alex Caruso “Untouchable,” Or Is There Something Else At Play?

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls will protect Alex Caruso at all costs … apparently.

While we do not know what the Bulls have planned for the 2023 NBA trade deadline, it is becoming increasingly clear that their best defensive player will not be up for grabs. As told by Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times’, Caruso remains one of the most highly-valued players on the Bulls’ roster.

“According to a source, Caruso could be the one untouchable just because of how valuable he is defensively and in the plus/minus category, but all that remained to be seen,” Cowley wrote.

Those words come only a handful of days after HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto sent out a similar message. Per Scotto, executives have indicated that the Bulls are not currently considering dealing Caruso (or Patrick Williams).

On one hand, I get it. Caruso has proven to be the anchor of the Bulls’ defense. His true value as a hustle player and plus-contributor on the defensive end has been realized in Chicago. And there is a case to be made that his contract is one of the most valuable in the league when we factor in all his winning qualities.

On the other hand, I’m not sure the Bulls are in a position to rule anyone as completely “untouchable,”, perhaps especially Caruso. This feels particularly true when we consider that Cowley implied the team’s Headband Wearing King is less likely to be traded than each member of the “Big 3.” Like … what?

Perhaps this could be true for someone like Vucevic since he’s on an expiring deal, but it’s hard to imagine a world where it makes much sense to keep Caruso and trade one or both of the best players on the team.

Sending LaVine or DeRozan elsewhere would likely signal a rebuild of sorts. Keeping Caruso as part of that would be a head-scratcher when we consider he might be viewed as one of the more valuable trade assets on the team. A contender would likely pay a stiff price for his mix of skillset and cheap contract, thus giving the Bulls more assets to work with in a rebuild.

Heck, even if it wasn’t a full-blown rebuild, Caruso still makes sense as a trade chip. While I wouldn’t deal him right now, it’s not crazy to think the Bulls could get a return package of sorts that helps fill some of their more glaring holes. Of course, this message may be something of a leverage grab by the Bulls, who could already be fielding interest in Caruso, but for a return that is not quite at the level they’d like.

By contrast, a true unwillingness to trade Caruso (if that’s what this is) indicates that winning is still the top priority as the deadline looms. As we said, he possesses a lot of the qualities that contending teams need. And, whether it be Karnisovas’ recent comments or a slew of recent rumors, the assumption is that Chicago hopes to still be one of those teams sooner than later.

Again, I don’t expect him to be traded, but making him sound highly coveted and deeming him “untouchable” can inherently boost his value. We can just never really rule out that possibility around this time of year.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.