NBA Rumors: Knicks, Warriors Linked to Possible Trade for Bulls' Alex Caruso

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 14, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC -  JANUARY 11: Alex Caruso #6 of the Chicago Bulls dribbles the ball against the Washington Wizards on January 11, 2023 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks are reportedly among the teams that could make a play for Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso ahead of next month's NBA trade deadline.

According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, the Warriors have been mentioned "prominently" in connection with Caruso, while the Knicks are a team to "keep an eye" on since they have been extensively scouting the Bulls lately.

Caruso is a top-flight defender, is only due $9.46 million next season and only has $3 million of his $9.89 million deal guaranteed for the 2024-25 campaign, per Spotrac.

The 28-year-old Caruso is in the midst of his second season with the Bulls and his sixth NBA season overall after spending his first four campaigns with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Caruso was a key reserve on the Lakers' NBA championship-winning team in 2020, which is why it comes as little surprise that two playoff-contending teams have reportedly shown interest in him.

While Caruso was limited to 41 games last season due to injury, it was a career year for him in many respects, as he set new career highs in starts (18) and minutes (28.0), assists (4.0), rebounds (3.6) and steals (1.7) per game. He also averaged 7.4 points per game, which was the second-highest mark of his career.

Caruso's per-game stats are down this year (5.4 points, 3.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 24.3 minutes), but his field-goal percentage of 43.7 is up significantly from last season's 39.8 mark, plus he is shooting 40.0 percent from beyond the arc.

With Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević leading the way, the Bulls are undoubtedly talented enough to make the playoffs and do some damage, but they have performed well below expectations this season.

At 19-24, the Bulls are 11th in the Eastern Conference, putting them just outside the postseason play-in picture. If things don't get better, they could be open to selling off some assets.

Caruso would be easy to move due to his contract and the fact that he is precisely the type of bench piece contending teams are always in search of.

The Warriors have underperformed this season as well, but they are still sixth in the Western Conference at 21-21 and figure to be threats to repeat as NBA champions by the time the season ends.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins will continue to be Golden State's go-to players offensively, but a guard who can be a defensive stopper is an underrated need after losing Gary Payton Jr. to the Portland Trail Blazers in free agency.

Caruso would be an ideal replacement, and he would make the Dubs a far more complete squad.

As for the Knicks, they are much improved this season, as a 24-19 mark has them sixth in the Eastern Conference.

New York disappointingly missed the playoffs last season with a 37-45 record, but Julius Randle has returned to All-Star-caliber form, RJ Barrett continues to progress offensively and guard Jalen Brunson has performed at an All-Star level as well.

The Knicks have some talented guards in Brunson, Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley, but none of them are elite one-on-one defenders, which would make Caruso the perfect addition.

Chicago is not obligated to trade Caruso since he is under contract for two more seasons beyond the current one, but his skill set is tailor-made for the playoffs and could net the Bulls a strong return at the deadline.