“I think there’s gonna be a Chicago fire sale,” Buha said. “So, Alex Caruso is obviously a Laker favorite, but Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan — those have been two guys the Lakers have been interested in for several seasons now — DeMar, even going back to the Toronto days, but also in San Antonio. So, I look at those — maybe one of those three as a target for L.A. come the trade deadline, or maybe sooner, depending on when Chicago decides to blow it up. … I think if Chicago has a fire sale, I think the Lakers are gonna be calling them and trying to get in that mix.”
There has been some smoke connecting Caruso to the Lakers lately.
He played the first four seasons of his NBA career with the storied Lakers franchise before signing with the Bulls in the 2021 offseason. The guard was an important role player on the 2019-20 Lakers squad, which went on to win the 2020 NBA title.
In the 2020 NBA Finals against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat, Caruso averaged 6.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from outside the 3-point arc. The Lakers defeated the Heat in six games in the championship series, and LeBron James took home the NBA Finals MVP award for Los Angeles.
But for as solid as Caruso was during his time with the Lakers, he’s arguably an even better player now. In nine games played with the Bulls so far this season, the 29-year-old is averaging 7.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting 59.1 percent from the field and 44.0 percent from deep.
As Buha alluded to, it’s possible that the Bulls will decide to blow up their current core before the trade deadline. After all, they’ve been stuck in mediocrity for a bit, and they’re off to a particularly slow start in the 2023-24 campaign.
The Pistons own the worst record in the Eastern Conference, while the Jazz are tied for the second-worst record in the Western Conference.
While Caruso, DeRozan and LaVine would likely all raise the ceiling of this Lakers team come playoff time, none of them would be particularly easy to obtain. DeRozan and LaVine are NBA stars, while Caruso is universally believed to be one of the better defenders at his position in the NBA.