After a whirlwind start to free agency, the NBA landscape is finally taking shape and the Los Angeles Lakers have to feel good about where they stand among the rest of the league.
The Lakers kicked things off on draft night when they agreed on a deal to bring in Russell Westbrook in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell. However, they were able to follow it up after a flurry of free agency signings that looked to address the outside shooting needs of the roster.
Rob Pelinka agreed to deals with a bevy of free agents like Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Trevor Ariza while also infusing the team with some youth in Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn. While the new additions are exciting, Los Angeles decided to part ways with Alex Caruso, who signed a reported four-year, $37 million deal with the Chicago Bulls.
Caruso was a fan favorite among the Lakers faithful and he took to his Instagram account to bid the Lakers and the fanbase a heartfelt farewell:
Caruso’s journey to make it to the NBA is inspiring and a major success story for the Lakers as they were able to find a gem in the undrafted guard out of Texas A&M. Caruso made an impression when he joined the Lakers during the 2017 NBA Summer League with his hard-nosed defense and knack for making winning plays, eventually earning himself the team’s first-ever two-way contract.
The 27-year-old signed another two-way deal with the Lakers prior to the 2017-18 season and continued to show growth in all areas of his game. Caruso eventually signed a two-year, $5.5 million deal and became a key member of head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation. Caruso earned his stripes as one of the league’s best perimeter defenses and even started Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals, helping the Purple and Gold capture their seventeenth NBA Championship.
Caruso was reportedly willing to accept less guaranteed money to return to L.A., but the team apparently had other plans. While it is sad to see a homegrown talent leave, Lakers Nation will be wishing the Caruso all the best in Chicago.
Dennis Schroder talking to Celtics
One guard who might also be out the door is Dennis Schroder. Schroder is surprisingly still on the free-agent market, though there have been some reports that he and the Boston Celtics are in talks of a potential deal.
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