Bulls trade veteran defensive star Alex Caruso to Thunder for guard Josh Giddey

Julia Poe, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Basketball

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bulls made their first move in a turning point of an offseason Thursday, trading defensive star Alex Caruso to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for shooting guard Josh Giddey, a source confirmed to the Chicago Tribune.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.

Entering his fourth year in the league at 21, Giddey was the No. 6 selection in the 2021 draft after a promising start to his career in Australia. Despite averaging 16.6 points and 6.2 assists in a strong sophomore season, he sometimes struggled to find his footing with the Thunder despite the team’s rising success behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren. Giddey averaged 12.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 25.1 minutes while shooting 33.7% on 3-pointers in the 2023-24 season.

In three seasons with the Thunder, he averaged 13.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists, shooting 46.4% overall and 31% on 3-pointers.

This is the first deal the Bulls front office has made for a player since August 2021 after standing pat for three consecutive trade windows. And the move reflects a promise made by executive vice president of basketball operations Artūras Karnišovas to “explore all options” in restructuring the roster after the team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the second consecutive season.


Caruso, 30, earned All-Defense Second Team honors for two consecutive seasons after serving as the cornerstone of the Bulls defense for three years. Despite struggling with availability because of lingering injuries, Caruso had a career-high 120 blocks and 70 blocks last season while averaging 1.7 steals (third in the league) and 3.7 deflections (first) and also improving his 3-point-shooting percentage to 40.8%. The guard will provide a valuable contribution to a young Thunder squad that fell just short in a Western Conference semifinals matchup against the Dallas Mavericks.

With a Caruso trade secured, the Bulls will now turn their attention to other crucial pieces — including a potential trade for Zach LaVine and the re-signing of DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams — ahead of next week’s draft.

Giddey spent most of the 2023-24 season under investigation by the NBA and Newport Beach, Calif., police after allegations emerged on social media in November that he was having a relationship with a minor. The police department declined to press charges after an investigation was “unable to corroborate any criminal activity related to Mr. Giddey,” and the league closed its investigation in May.

Giddey did not miss any games amid either investigation and declined to speak on the topic throughout the season.

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