Bulls Notes: Ball, Caruso, Markannen, Moves

Nearly as soon as free agency tipped off, the Bulls made a splash, agreeing to a sign-and-trade with Pelicans for poiint guard Lonzo Ball, then signing former Lakers guard Alex Caruso.Lonzo Ball

So with high-scoring guard Zach LaVine as the top option, the reconstructed Chicago backcourt is clearly improved.

The sign-and-trade for Ball sent guards Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple and a second-round pick back to New Orleans. Ball’s contract, meanwhile, is for four years and $85 million, per reports.

Later, it was revealed that the Bulls agreed to a four-year, $37 million deal with Caruso. While some say the Bulls overpaid, Caruso could be an underrated addition and offer something Chicago was lacking.

“Bringing in Caruso strikes as a direct reaction to the Bulls’ woeful guard defense on-the-ball and at the point-of-attack last season, which led to them ranking among the league’s worst guarding both the ball-handler and roll-man in pick-and-roll actions,” wrote Rob Schaeffer of NBC Sports Chicago.

“Caruso is tenacious in that context — making him complementary with Ball, LaVine and Coby White, all of whom aren’t — and a rugged defender overall. Standing 6-foot-4, he has a knack for strips, deflections and loose balls, and is a positive rebounder for his position on both ends.”

More from Chicago

  • Ball, 23, averaged 14.6 points, 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 55 games last season in his best all-around year as a pro. As Schaefer wrote, “Ball is still improving entering his fifth NBA season, and is now signed through at least his age-26 campaign.”
  • Along with Satoransky and Temple, the Bulls lost center Daniel Theis, who signed with the Rockets. So there’s a chance they could be looking for a new backup to starter Nikola Vucevic.
  • Chicago also still needs to resolve the sitauation with forward Lauri Markkanen, a restricted free agent. Per Schaefer, Markannen is another sign-and-trade candidate. He was linked to the Spurs and Pistons ahead of free agency.

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