3 Role player trade targets who could be needle-tippers for NBA contenders

Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls
Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Although the 2023-24 NBA season is still in its early stages, teams will be canvasing the market for trade targets to improve their rosters soon enough.

In particular, contenders will be looking to add a "missing piece" or two to try and push them over the edge on the hunt for the Larry O'Brien Trophy. There are currently rumors swirling about a handful of recognizable players who could be available, and contenders should be monitoring them. That said, let us look at three role players who could be huge additions to contenders via trade.

No. 1 - Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls

Amid rumors that Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls could be open to a possible trade, The Athletic's Darnell Mayberry reported that the Bulls could look quite different soon. While several teams would be pleased to get Zach LaVine or DeMar DeRozan, the Chicago Bull who might end up being the most sought-after trade target they have to offer is Alex Caruso.

Caruso has garnered a reputation as a strong perimeter defender and energizer. Standing at 6-foot-5, the two-guard is incredibly versatile and can defend a slew of different positions at the highest level. On top of that, he's no slouch on offense, and he's currently averaging a career-best 9.8 points while shooting 56.7 percent from the floor and 48 percent from behind the arc.

There are no shortage of teams who would benefit from adding a player like that, but if the Bulls do entertain trading him, it will not be cheap. Chicago will likely demand a hefty return for their ace on defense, and it wouldn't be surprising to see a bidding war take place. There are very few teams who would not make sense for Caruso across the league as potential landing spots.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks are two contenders who would make a ton of sense as possible Caruso landing spots. Both are ranked in the bottom half in defensive rating this season and need a big boost on that end. Getting him could make a massive difference for either squad, but he may ultimately go to who has the most to offer if the Bulls do entertain trade offers.