Pelicans Trade For Bulls’ Alex Caruso In Bold Proposal

Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

How do you build an elite NBA defense? Many would suggest that it starts with an anchor. They’ll say that you need an elite defensive big. That’s often been the formula for preventing points at the NBA level. Still, it’s not the only way to build a defense. 

Look at the New Orleans Pelicans. Last season, they had one of the best defensive ratings in the NBA. This year, they’re on track to match that success. Yet, we’ve heard rumblings that they’d prefer to move Jonas Valanciunas for a better defensive big man. 

Is that necessary? It seems the Pelicans have been able to build an elite defense with Valanciunas. This team has a deep platoon of stout perimeter stoppers in the backcourt and on the wings.

They could add another one if they want to make their defense even more suffocating. How about Alex Caruso of the Chicago Bulls? 

NBA Trade Proposal: New Orleans Pelicans Land Chicago Bulls’ Alex Caruso 

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NBA Analysis Network
Chicago Bulls receive: G Kira Lewis Jr., C Cody Zeller, F Naji Marshall, 2027 First-Round PIck (MIL via NOP) 
New Orleans Pelicans receive: G/F Alex Caruso 

In fact, last season, the Bulls were another counterexample. They didn’t have a defensive anchor, and yet, they built a high-quality defense. Nikola Vucevic is widely held to be a subpar defender, and the Bulls were able to stop opponents anyway. 

Who deserves the credit? Well, give some of it to Billy Donovan. He designed schemes that minimized Vucevic’s limitations.

Still, the lion’s share of the kudos probably belongs to Caruso. He may be the best defensive guard in the NBA. His ability to prevent points was key to the Bulls’ success on that end of the floor last year. 

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

Unfortunately, the Bulls struggled to put points on the board. Their anemic offense led to a disappointing season in 2022-23. Meanwhile, they’re not off to an impressive start this year, either. The Bulls are a strong candidate to rebuild this season.

Could they start by sending Caruso to the Pelicans? 

Why The Chicago Bulls Do The Deal 

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In a vacuum, Caruso may be worth more than this. That’s how phenomenal of a defender he. On the other hand, it may be hard for the Bulls to find a pair of first-round picks for him. Caruso isn’t a fantastic offensive player, and in a couple of years, he’s likely to be past his prime. 

So, they’ll settle for a first. The Bulls should be able to get more draft capital if theyre rebuilding. Zach LaVine should net them at least two picks.

Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan could land them some draft capital as well. If the Bulls want to rebuild, they’ve got the pieces to get off to a good start. 

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

In the meantime, Lewis Jr. is worth taking a flyer on as well. He’s still young enough to improve, and the Bulls need a point guard in Lonzo Ball’s indefinite absence.

Should the Pelicans part ways with him? 

Why The New Orleans Pelicans Do The Deal 

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NBA Analysis Network

This isn’t complicated for the Pelicans. They’re landing one of the best defensive guards in basketball. This team would like to win as much as they can this year, and Caruso will help. 

Is he redundant with Jose Alvarado? To an extent, sure. That’s fine – Caruso is much better. Meanwhile, the two should be able to co-exist for spells. If the partnership works, that’s great. If it doesn’t, the Pelicans could move Alvarado to continue balancing their roster. 

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

Perhaps the Pelicans are interested in moving Valanciunas. On the other hand, perhaps they ought to reconsider that line of thinking. By now, it’s apparent that the Pelicans can build an elite defense even with him in the middle. As it turns out, they may not need an anchor. 

About James Piercey 3786 Articles
When it comes to exploring the endless possibilities of NBA trades, there's no one quite like James Piercey. With a keen eye for player dynamics, salary cap intricacies, and a knack for discovering uncharted trade territory, James has risen to prominence as the preeminent expert in the realm of hypothetical NBA trades. James is also known for his work covering the Houston Rockets for SB Nation's The Dream Shake — a blog that gives a daily, comprehensive look at the team. He has written for various outlets, including FanSided and Last Word on Sports, among others.