Alex Caruso might just end up playing for the team that he once helped beat in the NBA Finals.
Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports recently spoke with an anonymous Eastern Conference executive who said that the Miami Heat are eyeing the Chicago Bulls guard Caruso as a potential trade target.
“They need a guard in the worst way,” the exec said of the Heat. “They have got to be concerned, and if the Bulls let it be known that Alex Caruso can be traded, they’d have to be the first in line. He is a [Miami head coach] Erik Spoelstra kind of guy all the way. They have an eye on him, for sure.
While he averages less than eight points and three assists per game, Caruso is arguably the NBA’s premier role player and indisputably one of the NBA’s best and smartest all-around defenders.
A recent video breakdown of Caruso’s defense on the much-taller Kevin Durant gave a great idea of the Bulls guard’s unmatched impact on that end of the floor.
As for why the Bulls would ever want to move Caruso, who is also shooting a flaming 44% from three-point range this season, it would mainly be about maximizing trade value since they aren’t very good right now.
Chicago is 4-7 to start the season (with one total playoff victory in the last six years), and it seems like they have hit their ceiling with their current core. That has naturally led to rampant trade speculation, not only on Caruso but on many other major names on the roster as well.
On Miami’s end, they are extremely thin in the backcourt with Gabe Vincent leaving in free agency this past summer and Tyler Herro now injured once again. That leaves just the journeyman Josh Richardson, the little-known Dru Smith and the geriatric Kyle Lowry to carry the load at guard.
Caruso, who is on a steal of a contract in the third year of a four-year, $37M deal, would probably cost Miami someone of similar talent on a similarly good contract (like a Caleb Martin).
But with the Heat failing on multiple high-profile trade fronts over the last several months, a more modest acquisition like Caruso might be exactly the way to go for them.