July 16, 2024

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Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President Arturas Karnišovas takes first step in offseason changes – NBC Sports Chicago

Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President Arturas Karnišovas takes first step in offseason changes – NBC Sports Chicago

Submitted by National Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

Artūras Karnišovas promised a turnaround this season after admitting in mid-April following the Chicago Bulls’ second straight non-playoff season that “this group didn’t work.”

And when you trade a player for Alex Caruso as a critical component of the culture that Karnišovas said he wants to build in Chicago, it means Karnišovas is serious about making change.

The question, of course, is what next? Do the Bulls see throwing their money at their two-time defensive captain who has significantly improved his 3-point shot for a dynamic floor leader potentially nine years younger than him as the only move to keep the Bulls competitive?

Or are there more moves and more important facelifts coming? League sources confirmed that the Bulls remain active on several trade fronts centered around Zach LaVine, including the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers. Does this step back make DeMar DeRozan consider unrestricted free agency more aggressively?

As a standalone transaction this offseason, the move isn’t great at first glance. If further steps are taken, perhaps they can be viewed in a fuller context. This is Karnišovas’ first deal involving players changing teams since August 2021.

At least three things are clear: With the addition of Giddey, the Bulls aren’t completely sold on Lonzo Ball’s return. Peter Patton, the notorious shooting coach who serves as the Bulls’ director of player development, has an important project on his hands with Giede, a 31 percent career three-point shooter whom the Dallas Mavericks left largely unguarded in their second-round win over Thunder.

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And oh man, are Bulls fans going to miss Caruso—and rightly so.

Caruso returns to the franchise that gave him his first opportunity as an undrafted free agent with the G League’s Oklahoma City Blue, who were coached by then-current Thunder head coach and NBA Coach of the Year Mark Daigneault. He has to play for the championship.

Giddey, who turns 22 in October, comes to Chicago to theoretically get the same schedule as Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu in the backcourt of the future depending on how the LaVine and Ball situations go.

White played admirably last season to become a finalist for the Most Improved Player award. Although he played well with the ball, he was often more dangerous off the ball in catch-and-shoot situations. While White has shown significant improvement organizing the floor, the Bulls have lacked a true general since Ball’s first injury.

He can be a Jedi, and he also has the size and length. He’s nowhere near the level of the ball as a defender or shooter—and that’s where the work ethic of Paton and the Jedi has to come into play. Remember: Paul completely revamped his shot to become an elite three-point shooter.

At 6-foot-8, Geddy is a good rebounder with strong court vision. His passing ability can be sublime. Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti, generally viewed as one of the best executives in the league, drafted Giddey with the sixth overall pick in 2021 and is still high on it. The rise and usage rate of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has negated some of Jedi’s strengths.

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But Giddey isn’t just an inconsistent three-point shooting game; He can be hesitant at times. When you couple that with his inability to get to the goal line very often with only 1.7 career attempts per game, he has room to grow.

Like Caruso, Guede will also need an extension beyond the 2024-25 season. Given his $8.3 million salary, he is eligible to sign a rookie contract extension through opening night next season or else he will be a restricted free agent in 2025.

That the Bulls started the contract clock so quickly when they finally decided to part ways with Caruso, and not get any picks added to the deal from a franchise he’s swimming in, raises eyebrows.

The Bulls turned down significant interest in Caruso in the last two trade dates, most notably from the Golden State Warriors, because they wanted to make playoff runs. Those failed.

Whether this trade was a success or failure may need a larger context to be fully judged. But it’s the beginning of a change, even if it costs a fan favorite and a player who deserves credit in Chicago for what he’s done.

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