Who is Alex Caruso? 5 things to know about new OKC Thunder guard acquired in Bulls trade

The OKC Thunder are trading Josh Giddey to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Alex Caruso, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday.

Caruso is a 30-year-old guard who spent the past three seasons with Chicago. He averaged a career-high 10.1 points to go along with 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists this season.

Here are five things to know about Caruso:

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Five things to know about Alex Caruso

Alex Caruso was a four-year guard at Texas A&M

Caruso spent all four years of his college career at Texas A&M from 2012-16.

The former four-star guard averaged eight points, 4.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds throughout his time with the Aggies. He earned an All-SEC second-team selection as a senior in 2016, and he was named by CBS Sports as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Caruso also led Texas A&M to an NCAA Tournament appearance that season. It reached the Sweet 16, where it suffered a 77-63 loss to Oklahoma.

Caruso still stands as Texas A&M's all-time assists leader (649) and steals leader (276).

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Alex Caruso began his NBA career with OKC Blue

Sep 23, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Alex Caruso (25) poses for portraits during Oklahoma City Thunder media day at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Alex Caruso (25) poses for portraits during Oklahoma City Thunder media day at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Caruso didn't get selected in the 2016 NBA Draft.

He joined the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2016 NBA Summer League, and he ultimately signed with OKC on Sept. 23, 2016. After getting waived by the Thunder, Caruso joined the franchise's NBA Development League team, the OKC Blue.

Caruso appeared in 50 games with the Blue during the 2016-17 season. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 11.9 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds, and he shot 40.1% from deep.

Caruso played under the Blue's then-head coach Mark Daigneault, who's now the head coach of the Thunder.

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Alex Caruso carved out an NBA role with the Los Angeles Lakers

Caruso joined the Los Angeles Lakers' 2017 Summer League team.

This was the same year the NBA introduced two-way contracts, which allow teams to sign players to guaranteed deals so they can play for both the NBA team and its G League affiliate. Los Angeles signed Caruso to a two-way contract on July 13, 2017.

Caruso spent the next two seasons on a two-way contract with Los Angeles before he signed a two-year, $5.5 million deal with the team on July 6, 2019. He then helped the Lakers win a 2019-20 championship by averaging 5.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game.

Caruso ultimately spent four seasons with Los Angeles from 2017-21.

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Alex Caruso became one of the NBA's best role players with Chicago Bulls

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 02: Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls talks with Alex Caruso #6 during Media Day at Advocate Center on October 02, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 02: Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls talks with Alex Caruso #6 during Media Day at Advocate Center on October 02, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Caruso signed a four-year, $37 million contract with Chicago on Aug. 10, 2021.

He immediately thrived with the Bulls, averaging 7.4 points and four assists in 28 minutes per game during the 2021-22 campaign. Caruso then averaged 5.6 points and 2.9 assists in 2022-23, and he earned an All-Defensive first team selection.

Caruso landed on the All-Defensive second team this past season. But for a Chicago team that went 39-43, marking its second straight losing campaign, the older guard began to appear in trade rumors.

CHGO's Will Gottlieb reported on June 17 that Chicago received offers for Caruso from multiple teams, consisting of multiple protected first-round picks ahead of this season's trade deadline. One of those deals included a pick that ended up in the top 10 of the 2024 NBA Draft, but the Bulls opted not to trade Caruso until Thursday.

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Alex Caruso is an ideal fit with OKC Thunder

It's not hard to see why OKC traded for Caruso.

While Giddey is a younger prospect at just 21 years old, his poor defense and shooting led to him getting benched during this year's NBA playoffs. But Caruso is a two-time All-Defensive selection who also shot a career-high 40.8% from deep this season.

Caruso will thrive alongside other defensive-minded OKC guards such as Lu Dort and Cason Wallace, and he won't take the ball out of the hands of scorers such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams.

Caruso is also on the final year of his contract, and he's only set to make $9.9 million next season. He'll be eligible for a four-year, $80 million contract extension six months from the date of this trade.

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This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Thunder-Bulls trade: 5 things to know about new OKC guard Alex Caruso

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