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The Fantasy Basketball Impacts of the Giddey-Caruso Trade

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey (3) drives to the basket against Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso (6) during the second half at United Center.

Following the Boston Celtics’ championship win earlier this week, the NBA offseason is already off to an exciting start. On Thursday, the Chicago Bulls traded Alex Caruso to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Josh Giddey. While fantasy basketball won’t start for a while, this move still has tremendous implications for the game.

The Fantasy Basketball Impacts of the Giddey-Caruso Trade

Can Josh Giddey Improve His Value With the Bulls?

Giddey’s fantasy value plummeted this season after having a solid sophomore year. The 21-year-old averaged career lows in several categories, including points, assists, rebounds, and steals. As the young Thunder squad took leaps, Giddey struggled for most of the season, and eventually, his role was reduced. He finished the year with a line of 12.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 4.8 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 1 3PM, 2.1 TOV, and 48/34/81 splits.

After the team’s second-round playoff exit, Giddey’s future in Oklahoma City was murky. This season, he moved down to being the fourth option on the team, and his minutes were sometimes taken away. But a new home in Chicago could be what he needs to bounce back.

However, his impact depends on the course the Bulls’ offseason takes. Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan are headlining trade rumours, and a deal involving these stars could mean a bigger role for Giddey. But as the roster currently stands, Chicago has a crowded backcourt featuring LaVine, Coby White, and Ayo Dosunmu. He’ll have to compete with them for minutes and touches.

Giddey is expected to take on a facilitator role while Lonzo Ball is out, as the team reportedly has been determined to find a playmaker to replace him. This implies bad news about Ball’s recovery, but updates are yet to be provided.

For now, the guard/forward’s potential to improve his fantasy value with the Bulls is possible and will become clearer as the team’s roster solidifies. Giddey needs the ball in his hands to make a fantasy impact, and that depends on his role and who he is playing alongside.

Will Alex Caruso’s Value Change?

Caruso is coming off a career year, averaging personal bests in points, rebounds, steals, blocks, threes, and field goal percentage. Chicago faced a plethora of injuries this season, making them rely more on the 30-year-old. His average minutes increased by 5.2 from last season, and his usage went up to 14.7%. He ended the season with 10.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 1.9 3PM, and 1.4 TOV on 47/41/76 shooting.

Fantasy managers shouldn’t be surprised if Caruso’s production slightly dips. He will likely get the starting shooting guard job but will play alongside powerhouses in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, and Chet Holmgren, affecting his offensive production.

However, the guard doesn’t need to have the ball in his hands to make an impact. He can carve out a role on the defensive end by racking up stocks while also providing some scoring, especially from beyond the arc. Caruso’s value should be in the low 100s.

How Will Their Thunder and Bulls Teammates Be Affected?

As for Oklahoma City, the fantasy value of their starting lineup should remain relatively the same. The loss of Giddey, who attempted 10.6 shots per game, could open more scoring opportunities, increasing others’ offensive stats. Caruso is also known to have issues staying healthy. Younger guns like Isaiah Joe and Cason Wallace could see extra run time in his place and hold some streaming value.

Just as Giddey’s value depends on Chicago’s roster construction, so does the rest of the squad. If the team remains intact, he could come off the bench as a sixth man (although Giddey reportedly didn’t want to come off the bench with the Thunder, leading to his trade request). The Bulls could go for a White-Dosunmu backcourt to develop their young core, boosting their value. LaVine and DeRozan would start if they stay, but it’s much more likely that one or both will be traded. If so, Giddey could get more usage, depending on the return. Trading their stars could also mean the offence runs through White, who displayed excellent potential in his breakout season.

The Last Word

The Bulls are reportedly very active on the trade market, and the Thunder still have a good amount of cap space. These teams will likely make a few more moves in the offseason. As a result, the implications of the Giddey-Caruso trade can unfold further. For now, Giddey gets a chance to recover his value, and Caruso can flash his defensive prowess.

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