The Los Angeles Lakers are absolutely one of the premier title contenders in the NBA this season. Los Angeles making it to the Finals of the NBA In-Season Tournament, and dominating at every turn, is a reminder that they can hang with the best teams in the entire league.
As every title contender should, the Lakers will peruse the trade market this season and see if there are any possible upgrades to be made. Fans likely won't see franchise-altering changes like last season but there definitely should be ancillary upgrades made along the way.
With the NBA season over a quarter of the way in the books, fans have an idea of what teams are going to be sellers and what teams are going to be buyers. As a result, fans have started to make a wish list for potential trade targets.
Leading that list is former Laker Alex Caruso, who has been tied to Los Angeles as the Chicago Bulls potentially prepare to enter fire sale mode. Unfortunately, though, the chances of the Lakers trading for Caruso have cratered as the Bulls' front office regime does not seem intent on trading the defensive specialist.
Alex Caruso may be an impossible dream trade target for the Lakers
This is exactly what a badly-managed basketball team would do, so is it really surprising that the Bulls would hold onto Caruso? A smart basketball front office would move on from Caruso when his value is the highest and you could argue that it is at this year's deadline. Next year Caruso will just be an expiring contract and teams will not be willing to trade as much.
But sure, it is the right thing to hold onto him because he is their "greatest success story". Let's not forget that the success story only happened because the Lakers decided to pinch pennies and not re-sign Caruso for less than the Bulls offered him.
Should Lakers fans be a tad angry that the Bulls are taking this approach? Sure. But this does not change the fact that this is outright bad by Chicago. Whether it is the Lakers or not, the worst thing the Bulls can do is hold onto him now, be a lottery team anyway, and then trade him for pennies on the dollar later.
Los Angeles cannot afford to sit around and wait for Chicago to make up its mind about whether or not it is going to trade Caruso. The Lakers need to explore other options.