Analysis: Warriors Close to Securing Bulls Guard Prior to Trade Deadline

The Warriors won eight of their last 10 games before the All-Star break, gathering momentum that could hold them in a good place in the stretch run of the season.

With Gary Payton II and Moses Moody back in the lineup, and Chris Paul expected to return imminently, the Warriors are nearing full strength for the first time in the season — all positive signs in their pursuit of a postseason berth.

It appears their push for a playoff spot nearly received a huge boost ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Bulls were close to trading Alex Caruso to the Warriors but eventually decided against parting with the defensive ace.

“The Bulls, league sources say, wound up giving real consideration to trading Caruso on Deadline Day after insisting for weeks that they wouldn’t,” Stein wrote. “But Chicago’s talks with Golden State ultimately collapsed…”

While Stein didn’t specify Golden State’s exact trade offer, Bulls beat writer K.C. Johnson noted on Feb. 8 that Chicago inquired about Jonathan Kuminga’s availability.

“That was rebuffed, and the Bulls made clear in talks with all teams that they didn’t want to trade Caruso,” wrote Johnson.

Caruso — who made the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team last year — is also a knockdown shooter who’s making threes at a 40-percent clip this season.

Caruso’s addition would have solved a ton of problems for the Warriors, whose perimeter defense continues to struggle due to their lack of quality point-of-attack defenders.

In previous years, they had had the luxury of Klay Thompson guarding Stephen Curry’s matchups, but that’s no longer a viable option due to his waning lateral quickness.

As good as Caruso’s addition would have been, the Warriors have to hope that Payton II — who played a critical role in their 2022 championship run — remains healthy and regains some of his defensive tenacity.

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