July 14, 2024

The Chicago Bulls will be on the clock with the 11th pick in the 2024 NBA Draft on June 26. Days later, they will be faced with major decisions about DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams’ free agency and Zach LaVine’s trade market.Chicago Bulls Lose Key Member of Organization to New York Knicks

Still, the most important matter is what to do with Alex Caruso as he enters the final year of his contract.

Starting July 6, Caruso is eligible to sign a four-year, $78.8 million extension — a big raise off of the $36.9 million contract he will finish out in the 2024-25 season.

Caruso does for the Bulls’ defensive culture and identity what DeRozan does for their offense. Given the team’s stated desire to remain competitive, they have resisted trading Caruso despite tantalizing offers.

The Bulls took calls on Caruso, but never made them. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Bulls have received offers from multiple teams, consisting of multiple protected first-round picks ahead of the 2024 Trade Deadline. One of those deals included a pick that ended up in the top-10 of the 2024 Draft, the source said. The Golden State Warriors were among teams who made a strong offer for Caruso, multiple sources confirmed.

Ultimately, they declined.

Internally, the Bulls party line was that they would have to start searching for a Caruso replacement from the moment they traded him. That may have been fine in a rebuild, which lead executive

However, the source indicated that there was a mandate from the Reinsdorfs to fight for the Playoffs. That, no doubt, impacted the front office’s decision making when it came to pulling the trigger on any Caruso deal.

Pressure from ownership to compete helps make sense of the Bulls lack of direction, even though it conflicts with what Karnisovas publicly stated. It may also mean the Bulls continue to be reluctant to move Caruso as long as their mandate to remain competitive still applies. It’s unclear whether that is still the case.

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