Alex Caruso is entering the third season of a four-year, $37 million contract he signed with the Chicago Bulls in 2021.
Although the 29-year-old is due $9.46 million in 2023-24, his 9.89 million in 2024-25 is only partially guaranteed.
Caruso is coming off arguably the best season of his professional career.
Although he has posted better offensive numbers in past years, most notably with the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers, his most recent run with the Bulls saw him at perhaps his most impactful.
In 2022-23 Caruso posted his career-best field goal percentage (45.5) and his third-best three-point shooting percentage (36.4). Beyond that, and most importantly, he also made the NBA All-Defensive First Team.
Unfortunately, while Caruso himself had a great year, the Bulls did not. The team is in a state of flux and although DeMar DeRozan is the likeliest piece to get moved as a result, Caruso could be on the outs as well.
If Chicago does opt to send Caruso elsewhere, three frontrunners for his services have emerged.
The first is the Phoenix Suns. As noted by Evan Sidery of Forbes, the team’s new head coach Frank Vogel is a huge fan of what Caruso brings to the table. The pair won a championship together with the Los Angeles Lakers and during that time Vogel described Caruso as “one of our best players.”
Specifically, Sidery noted that Caruso’s “defense and shooting ability” could make him a natural fit in Phoenix.
If not the Suns, the Sacramento Kings are another team to keep an eye on. According to NBA analyst Mike Cruz, this year’s first-round series against the Golden State Warriors exposed the team’s defensive liabilities.
“The Kings had a lot of trouble dealing with Stephen Curry,” he wrote.
“They especially had no answer for the two-time MVP in Game 7, where Curry went bonkers and dropped 50 points. Alex Caruso might just be the answer to that. Sacramento could trade Richaun Holmes, who essentially wasn’t a part of the Kings rotation and maybe a few more draft assets to acquire the Bald Mamba.
“…It’s absolutely impossible to contain an elite offensive maestro like Curry. But Caruso has shown in the past that he can disrupt and frustrate the Warriors superstar.”
Finally, if the Kings can’t make something happen for Caruso, the Warriors themselves are an intriguing squad to keep an eye on.
Head coach Steve Kerr has said on multiple occasions that he is a fan of how Caruso plays the game. So much so, in fact, that Kerr mocked the Lakers for letting him go and insisted that the Warriors be one of five NBA teams to kick the tires on a potential trade for him last year.
Caruso’s three-point shooting and defensive presence would be perfect off the bench for Golden State.
This promises to be a fascinating NBA offseason.
And there are two franchises that appear to be legitimate threats to pull Jaylen Brown away from the Boston Celtics.
Now that’s a date night. https://t.co/IYcetrkp7p
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 4, 2023
Caruso’s situation is obviously a little different because he isn’t a free agent, but there is still a 50-50 chance he ends up elsewhere come next season.
Will the Bulls ultimately opt to trade Caruso at some point this summer? One way or another an answer will emerge over the next few months.