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Bulls trade Caruso to Thunder for Giddey

Elsa / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Chicago Bulls traded two-time All-Defensive guard Alex Caruso to the Oklahoma City Thunder for 21-year-old guard Josh Giddey, the teams confirmed Friday.

The Bulls have been looking for another playmaker to replace the oft-injured Lonzo Ball and believe Giddey can fill that role, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Giddey averaged 12.3 points and 4.8 assists in 80 games with OKC last season. He'll now partner with breakout guard Coby White, who averaged a career-best 19.1 points and 5.1 assists in his fifth season with the Bulls.

The Thunder planned to bring Giddey off the bench next season, but he found it hard to "envision," OKC executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti said in a statement.

"Josh has All-Star potential, but accessing that in the current construct of the Thunder would not be optimal for the collective. Based on these discussions, we decided to move forward and prioritize what was best for the organization," Presti said.

Giddey's 11 triple-doubles are the fourth-most by a player 21 or younger all time behind Luka Doncic, Magic Johnson, and Ben Simmons, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Chicago management has to make several major decisions this offseason. Six-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan is set to become an unrestricted free agent and could test the open market despite previously saying he wants to return to Chicago.

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has also been trying to move two-time All-Star Zach LaVine. Chicago has reportedly proposed as many as 15 trades revolving around the 29-year-old, who missed 57 games last season due to a foot injury.

Meanwhile, in Caruso, the Thunder get another defensive stopper next to Luguentz Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. OKC already had the second-best defensive rating in the league - trailing only the Orlando Magic - at 104.5.

Caruso, 30, averaged a career-high 10.1 points while shooting 40.8% from deep last season with Chicago. He was also nominated to his second straight All-Defensive team.

Caruso previously played for Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault as a member of the Oklahoma City Blue in the 2016-17 season.

The undrafted guard has $3 million guaranteed of his $9.9-million salary for next season, while Giddey has a cap hit of $8.3 million and is rookie-extension eligible until late October, per ESPN's Bobby Marks.

The Thunder made the trade hoping they could ink Caruso to a four-year deal worth approximately $80 million when he becomes extension-eligible in six months, according to Wojnarowski.

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