The OKC Thunder Pull Off The First Big Trade Of The Offseason By Stealing Alex Caruso From The Bulls For Essentially Nothing


And we're off!!

Now this is what I'm talking about. The offseason just started and we already have our first big trade of the summer. OK, maybe "big" was a bit of an exaggeration but it's certainly not a small trade. The Thunders are contenders who are just entering the early stages of their rise. While many people thought they should have gone "all in" at the deadline for a center, Sam Presti remained patient. Sure not getting that extra big proved to be a major factor in why the Thunder lost to the Mavs in the playoffs considering they couldn't get a defensive rebound to save their lives, but it's all part of the process of building a sustainable contender I guess.

To me, that's the beauty of the trade at least from the Thunder side. I think everyone pretty much knew the Thunder weren't going to extend Josh Giddey. It got to the point where he was pretty much unplayable, and that doesn't even mention all the off the court shit. From a basketball standpoint, if there was going to be a trade with this Thunder collection of young talent, everyone knew it was going to be Giddey. So why is this a beautiful trade for OKC?

For starters, Alex Caruso rules. An All NBA caliber defender coming off a 41% season from deep, you can pretty much put him on any position 1-3 and not have to worry in the slightest when it comes to that player holding up defensively. For a team that was already nails as a collective group, adding an All NBA defender next to Lu Dort gives the Thunder arguably the 2nd best defensive backcourt in the NBA, trailing only the NBA champion duo of Jrue Holiday/Derrick White. The other incredible aspect of this deal?

As of the reporting we have so far, it appears the Thunder gave up a total of zero (0) picks in this deal.

This is legitimately insane if nothing else for the fact that the Thunder have no fewer than 10,000 picks to choose from over the next handful of years. Sam Presti wipes his ass with first round picks and the Bulls couldn't even get a protected 2nd round pick or something? How is that even possible? So, not only did the Thunder bring in the better player, they ALSO still have all their ammo to keep shopping should another opportunity present itself. If I was a Western Conference team trying to compete with the Thunder, that would have me bullshit. 

Obviously given their cap space situation and still having a bunch of rookie deals, I see no reason why the Thunder and Caruso wouldn't reach an extension. It's a homecoming for him or sorts


Plus the Thunder are positioned well to contend for the foreseeable future. As long as they pay up, there's no reason for Caruso to look elsewhere both in terms of value and opportunity.

From the Bulls side, this is pretty brutal. I know there was some spin in those Woj tweets talking about All Star potential and playmaking and all that nonsense, but let's be for real. Josh Giddey most likely is not morphing into an All Star point guard. A hell of a passer no doubt, but he still can't really shoot, and considering his deal is about to be up, the Bulls have no choice but to pay him or they just traded a huge piece in Alex Caruso for nothing. That's not great. 

So much of this trade is "the same old Bulls" for a Chicago team that simply cannot pick a direction. Either suck ass and get into the high lottery, or find a way to add talent and actually contend. But shit like this? This is how you stay in NBA purgatory unless the plan is to blow everything up. Sign and trade DeRozan, trade LaVine, trade Ayo, trade Coby White, trade Vucevic. Just smash the rebuild button and rip the bandaid off. Sadly, given how that franchise has been run recently, I'm not thinking that's what we're about to see. Maybe a few more players over the course of the summer, but not a complete teardown.

It is interesting to get our first look at how the rest of the league is now approaching life during the Tatum and Brown Era of the NBA. You see, if you don't have multiple elite perimeter defenders, you're sadly not going to beat the champs. We saw it in the East, we saw it in the Finals, we saw it all year long. Sam Presti is smart, he knows that he needs to have a roster that can compete with the champs and he didn't hesitate. Shoutout to him. Whether the rest of the NBA is able to do the same remains to be seen, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know why they should

Brian Babineau. Getty Images.