Lakers could Seek Trade Reunion With $37 Million Guard

If the Lakers have lacked a competitive edge in the early stages of the 2023-24 NBA season, there is one way the team could probably improve: trade for a former Laker. Even though it’s only November and the Lakers rumor mill isn’t yet in full swing, one executive mentioned L.A. as a possible suitor for Bulls guard Alex Caruso, who helped the team win the 2020 NBA championship while still on the bubble in Orlando.

Alex Caruso was a key member of that team’s bench, but he signed a four-year, $37 million contract with the Bulls in 2021.

Caruso isn’t a big numbers guy—he averaged 5.9 points in 184 games with the Lakers—but his departure was something that many in the organization quickly realized was a bad idea.

“The rumor around the Lakers was that they regretted letting him go almost immediately after it happened,” said one Eastern Conference executive. “They realized it was a mistake. He’s not the same player anymore, but the Lakers are concerned that they don’t have enough of a competitive advantage. He might be able to help with that.”

Bulls Have Been Overpriced Alex Caruso on the Stock Exchange
Of course, any Lakers rumor is fine in a vacuum, but it will require some cooperation from the opposing team to become a reality.

Last year, the Bulls were said to be looking for two first-round picks in exchange for Caruso, which some took to mean they weren’t interested in trading him at all—no one was going to give up that much for a role player like Caruso.


Aggie Alex Caruso makes All-NBA Defensive Team


With Chicago struggling in the early going and the team possibly in need of some retooling, the Bulls may have to be more realistic about Caruso’s value this year. They could demand a first-round pick, which would almost certainly be too much for the Lakers. However, there may be workarounds.

“They wouldn’t give up a (first-round) pick, but if they wait until December 15, they could give up (Jalen) Hood-Schifino and another contract.” Or Max Christie, he has some value,” the executive said. “They’re not giving up a pick but they have young guys they can put up there.”

The Bulls are unlikely to be interested in a Christie or Hood-Schifino trade unless they receive a draft pick. However, if the market for Caruso is generally disappointing, the Lakers may be able to sign him without depleting their limited supply of future picks.

Could Be More Teams Involved in This Lakers Rumor

It would be surprising, however, if the market for Caruso was indeed limited. He is a proven winner and a role player who can lead with hustle and defense, contributions far more valuable than his career 6.0 points on 43.0% shooting.

Of course, all of this is still in the realm of Lakers rumors. Chicago has not yet discussed Caruso trades, and nothing is likely to happen until December 15, when contracts signed this summer can be traded.

A crowded market would make it difficult for the Lakers to re-sign Caruso. However, he is likely to be mentioned in Lakers rumors.

“Coveted is a good word for him. If you want to make a trade tomorrow they could trade Alex Caruso,” the executive told Heavy Sports. “Half the teams in the league would be there with an offer. There’s a lot of teams monitoring that situation and they’re looking at Caruso more than anyone on that roster. Just a matter of when the Bulls are ready to make changes and ready to let him go.”





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