CHICAGO – When the team was fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Conference in 2022, the talk around the trade deadline was all about the players the Bulls might try to add for a playoff run.

A year has made a tremendous difference in the thinking around the team as the February 9 NBA deadline approaches. At 23-27, sitting outside the playoff picture, and struggling to find consistency, the Bulls may be looking to trade key contributors to acquire young players or draft capital.

One of those who has been rumored to be on the trade block is guard Alex Caruso, who could be a defensive stopper off the bench for a team looking to add to their roster ahead of the playoffs.

Some of them are already out there, and the guard has heard them, but Caruso’s not exactly very worried about it.

“I really don’t have much control over it, so I try not to put too much energy into it,” said Caruso of the trade rumors ahead of the Bulls’ game with the Hornets Thursday night at the United Center. “Anybody would be lying if they said that they didn’t know about them or aren’t aware of it. Obviously, it’s just part of the business of what happens.

Caruso said he hasn’t adjusted anything about his routine on social media to try and avoid potential whispers about his future. Perhaps it was his years before joining the Bulls that allows the sixth-year guard to navigate through easily through the next week.

“I played in Los Angeles two years on two-way and two years on the regular contract, and every year it was a grouping of players or one or two guys. So I’ve kinda been around it, this is probably the first time I’ve been mainly involved in it, but there’s just literally nothing I can do,” said Caruso. “So the more time I spend worrying about it, the less time I have to worry about playing the Hornets or getting ready for our next game, trying to make sure that I’m doing the stuff I need to do to be ready to play basketball.”

Thursday night will be the 45th game of the season for Caruso, who is averaging 5.7 points, 3.3 assists, and 1.7 steals a contest in an average of 25.4 minutes, mostly off the bench. He’s a key part of Billy Donovan’s lineup at the moment, but whether he will be is still to be determined.

As for Caruso, he’s not expecting to go anywhere at the trade deadline.

“Yeah, I think so,” is how the guard responded when asked if he expects to be with the Bulls for the rest of the season. “I mean, I haven’t gotten any indication or any word or anything like that. Coaches still seem to like me, the front office seems to like me, players like me.”

In the meantime, Caruso carries on, paying little mind to the rumors around him.