Perfect Lakers Trade Target Now Off the Table

The NBA offseason is off to a fast start and the Los Angeles Lakers already lost a perfect trade target to a Western Conference rival.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers finally announced the hiring of their next head coach. Now, they need to shift their focus to the draft, free agency, and the trade market to make sure they build the most competitive roster they can as they chase another championship with LeBron James on the roster.

With that objective in mind, the Lakers will presumably be aggressive on the trade market. Considering the fact that they don't have any cap space or financial flexibility, trades are their best way to acquire talent. They have their 2024, 2029, and 2031 first-round picks, as well as the salaries of Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Gabe Vincent that they can use in potential trades.

One of their targets in a potential trade scenario was former Laker and NBA champion, Alex Caruso. The Chicago Bulls guard was entering the final year of his contract and was a prime trade candidate if the Bulls decided to rebuild. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder moved quicker than everyone else and traded for Caruso in exchange for Josh Giddey, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

NBA News: Alex Caruso Traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder

This is a shockingly low return for Caruso. One of the best defenders in the entire league, Caruso possesses a rare combination of ability to guard all positions effectively, hit open threes, and make plays for his teammates.

The Bulls must have overrated Josh Giddey, who has struggled immensely throughout his NBA career. He is not a good shooter or a scorer and is one of the worst defenders in the league.

This highlights the fact that the Lakers could have potentially gotten in on a Caruso deal. If this is all it took to lure Caruso away from Chicago, the Lakers should have offered at least an unprotected first-round pick and a matching salary to the Bulls. Perhaps the incompetent Bulls office would have still preferred Giddey over that package but it is certainly a missed opportunity for the Lakers.

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