With the 2023 NBA trade deadline now hours, not days, away, it is time for the buyers and sellers of the NBA to come together and make some last-minute deals. A Chicago Bulls trade deadline deal with the Golden State Warriors would be one that would help both clubs. And, if nothing else happens in the Windy City before the cutoff, an Alex Caruso deal would at least give the team a new building block to work with heading into the offseason.
A Bulls trade deadline deal sends Alex Caruso to the Warriors for James Wiseman
The Chicago Bulls approach the 2023 NBA trade deadline as the No 9 seed in the Eastern Conference at 26-28. That’s about the worst spot Bulls fans could hope for.
Chicago is an organization that is in desperate need of movement one way or the other. If the team can make a run as a contender in the East, great. That’s not likely as currently constructed, though, so the next best thing is to tank.
Due to a bad Bulls trade two NBA trade deadlines ago, the Orlando Magic own the Bulls' 2023 No. 1 pick. It is top-four protected, though, so if the Bulls did bottom out this season, there is a chance they could keep that selection in this year’s top-heavy draft.
Despite all this, a full-scale Bulls fire sale doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards. A trade deadline day that ships Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan, and even zack LaVine out of town doesn’t seem probable.
That doesn’t mean the Bulls can’t start a soft rebuild, though, without giving up on this season.
The Warriors are in desperate need of veteran guard help. They need players that can shoot and score and dribble and pass and play defense, but most of all, they need players like this who head coach Steve Kerr will actually trust putting in at the end of games.
Enter Alex Caruso.
If you’re not familiar with Caruso’s work of late and just remember his as Kobe Bryant’s fun “Bald Mamba” sidekick from years ago, you’re missing out. Caruso has stuck around the league because he is a capable ball-handler and a jack-of-all-trades who can absolutely close games for contending teams.
With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson no longer the defenders they once were (and they never were great, to begin with), the Warriors need someone to pester opposing ball handlers late in games. Caruso is perfect for that role, and also brings solid averages of 5.6 points, 3.3 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game.
Caruso is also playing just 24.1 minutes per game for the Bulls with youngster Colby White and veteran Goran Dragic behind him, so the Bulls can feel fine trading him as they push (for some reason) to get the No. 6 seed in the East.
In return, this Bulls trade deadline deal will bring back a player that the Warriors seem done with, even though he was the No. 2 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft in James Wiseman.
Both players make just over $9 million in salary this season, so a one-for-one swap works out perfectly. This is a great deal for the Bulls, though, because of who Wiseman could be.
The 2020 NBA Draft was an incredibly strange one, coming in the midst of a global pandemic. The last third of the college basketball season was canceled that year, and the NBA didn’t have an in-person combine for the teams to get to know the players.
Even in the best of years, Wiseman likely would have been an enigma. The 7-foot center played just three games at Memphis before a recruiting scandal put him on suspension. Then Wiseman walked away from the program to focus on the draft.
James Wiseman is now a three-year NBA vet but has played less than two full seasons after missing the entire 2021-22 campaign with a knee injury. So far, he’s averaging 9.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks in the NBA through 60 games played.
This is an incredibly small sample size, and somewhere deep down, that top-two draft pick talent is still in the 21-year-old big man.
As the Warriors are in full win-now mode, it’s time for them to get 60 cents on the dollar for Wiseman, returning a player who can help them win in 2023 before their championship window closes for good.
A Bulls trade deadline deal involving Alex Caruso and James Wiseman is the perfect deal for both teams to get one step closer to their goals in 2023 and beyond, even if the teams should be trying to go in opposite directions this season.