Grade the trade: Denver Nuggets proposal lands ex. NBA champ

Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

The Denver Nuggets have started the season on a roll. They’ve battled their way to a 6-1 record while dominating the opponents they’ve faced so far. It may seem like they don’t need any reinforcements, but the other championship contenders look feistier this season. The Nuggets will likely face tougher competition in the postseason this time around, so they can’t be complacent with the roster that they have.

One way that they can do so would be to upgrade their depth, especially with playoff-proven veterans. There is one specific player who would be an ideal fit for the Denver Nuggets: Alex Caruso of the Chicago Bulls.

Why Alex Caruso is an ideal trade target for the Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets haven’t really missed Bruce Brown and Jeff Green so far this season. The likes of Reggie Jackson, Peyton Watson, and Zeke Nnaji have all stepped up to get the bench units to play at a respectable level. However, Watson and Nnaji have not proven themselves in the postseason, and Jackson’s playoff resume is a mixed bag. A player who can replicate what Bruce Brown did on the court last season while bringing the leadership and experience Jeff Green brought would be an excellent addition to this team.

That is why the name Alex Caruso comes up.

Caruso is one of the best defensive perimeter players in the league, being named to last season’s All-Defensive first team. He can not only guard multiple positions, but he also forces a ton of turnovers and makes plays as a help defender. He provides the same flexibility in roster construction as Bruce Brown did thanks to his ability to play either guard position or play next to other guards.

On top of that, he’d bring more championship experience to Denver, having won a title with the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2020.

Offensively, he is a limited player, but the Nuggets don’t need him to do much on that end. He can knock down open threes, keep the ball moving with his passing, and make plays off the dribble as a secondary or tertiary playmaker. That is more than enough for this Denver offense.

The biggest question mark for Caruso is the health concerns. The most he has ever played in a season was 67 games and he regularly deals with minor injuries. However, that 67-game season was last year, and if he were able to replicate that number again, he would be a valuable addition to any team in the league.

Despite Denver not having too many resources for a trade, Caruso should be acquirable. A trade construction that looks like this makes sense for both sides:

Final Grade for Denver Nuggets Alex Caruso proposed trade:


Denver gets another guy they can trust to play 25 to 30 minutes and close games in the playoffs. Losing Reggie Jackson and Zeke Nnaji is not ideal, but it’s a worthy price to pay for the bench upgrade.

The Bulls, on the other hand, finally embrace the long-awaited rebuild. They add Nnaji, who could be a long-term piece for their frontcourt rotation. They could choose to keep Jackson as a veteran mentor or move on from him. They also get an additional second-round pick to make it worth their while.

Since Reggie Jackson was signed this offseason, he can’t be traded until December 15. But, that should be fine. A Caruso deal in January or February should still give the Nuggets enough time to integrate him into the rotation before the playoffs.

It will be fascinating to see whether the Nuggets front office thinks a trade is necessary or if they are content with the roster. Time will tell.