Josh Giddey, Alex Caruso Trade Grade: Thunder, Bulls Swap Guards

Josh Giddey, Alex Caruso Trade Grade: Thunder, Bulls Swap Guards article feature image
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Pictured: Alex Caruso and Josh Giddey (Caruso photo by Elsa/Getty Images, Giddey photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

The first major trade of the NBA offseason has reportedly occurred — and it came completely out of left field. The Chicago Bulls, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, are sending veteran guard Alex Caruso to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for former sixth overall pick Josh Giddey. Check out NBA trade grades and analysis for each team below. 

Oklahoma City Thunder Trade Grade & Analysis

What a deal for the Thunder!

Caruso is a hyper-elite screen navigator and tenacious point-of-attack defender who has finished in the top 11 in Defensive Player of the Year voting in each of the past two seasons. Few guards offer more defensive value during the postseason than Caruso, and his 6’5” frame also allows him to guard smaller wings. 

How are teams supposed to score against a guard room of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, Cason Wallace and Caruso with Chet Holmgren lurking in the background? Oklahoma City secured the fourth-best defensive rating last season, and should be fighting for first next season. 

Additionally, Caruso shot over 40% from 3-point range this season on decent volume, and ranked in the 70th percentile for pick-and-roll ball handler points per possession (via Synergy Sports). His spacing will be crucial for Gilgeous-Alexander’s 2-point shot diet, and he further improves the bench offense. 

Caruso is the ultimate Swiss Army knife, which makes him a sensational get for a Thunder team that worships role versatility, unselfishness and hustle. 

Giddey still has upside as a jumbo playmaker, but didn't fit with Oklahoma City's core due to his poor shooting and suspect defense. Sam Presti avoided the sunk cost fallacy and significantly boosted Oklahoma City's championship equity here. He didn’t even relinquish any draft capital either.

Grade: A+ 

Chicago Bulls Trade Grade & Analysis

This is a better grade than you'll see almost anywhere else, because I believe the Bulls are finally looking toward the future.

Chicago is going nowhere with its current roster, so taking a chance on a 21-year-old Giddey makes plenty of sense. He’s a superb passer who can generate high value assists, which is rare for someone his size (6’8”).

If his 3-point shot comes around, that'd completely open up the court and allow Giddey to punish warped defenses. It’s definitely the swing skill for him as a jump shot would likely let him take the leap to near All-Star levels of production.

Let's be clear: The Bulls stubbornly waited too long to trade Caruso, thus slashing the return. They did not manage to pry away any draft picks from the Thunder and considering that Oklahoma City is drowning in first and second rounders, it’s improbable that Presti would have declined the trade in order to keep a few low-quality picks. That's why you'll see so many D and F grades.

Overall, though, I really believe it’s a good sign that the Bulls finally gave up on their delusional dreams of contention and embraced a youth movement. I think this is the team turning over a new leaf. Next on the offseason list for Chicago: trade Zach LaVine.

Grade: C+
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Nick Sterling
Jul 21, 2024 UTC