The Los Angeles Lakers have already made a number of additions in free agency, but they also lost a major contributor and one of the fan favorites on the roster. Reserve guard Alex Caruso agreed to a four-year deal with the Chicago Bulls, ending his tenure with the franchise.
The Lakers added Caruso as part of their summer league team back in 2017 and would ultimately become the team’s first two-way signing. From there, he would work his way up, becoming a key member of the rotation who started in the clinching Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 2020.
Once the news came down of Caruso joining Chicago, many fans were disappointed to see him go. But Caruso would hop on to his Twitter page and thank the fans for their support throughout his time with the Lakers:
Will never forget my time in LA and the #lakeshow fans.. y’all loved me before it was cool 💜💛genuine love for all of y’all
— Alex Caruso (@ACFresh21) August 3, 2021
While originally thought of by some as just a meme or joke player, Caruso began to prove everyone wrong with his performances on the court. His crunchtime performance against the Los Angeles Clippers was the first signal that he could be more than just a bit player. His dunks were what made the highlight reels, but his defense is what made him a staple of Frank Vogel’s rotation.
The fandom for Caruso was beyond anything a normal role player would receive, and Caruso realized that. He was regularly among the top All-Star game vote-getters and would garner cheers louder than many stars whenever he made a play.
Ultimately, the Lakers decided that keeping Caruso was not in their plans, and he could cash in on a well-deserved new contract. How much they will miss him will be dependent on the performances of the new players brought in, but fans will have to find a new role player to get behind.
Lakers reach agreement with Wayne Ellington
Perhaps that player will be Wayne Ellington, whom the Lakers agreed to a one-year deal with amidst several returning players to re-join the team. Ellington has been one of the best shooters in the NBA over the last few seasons, knocking down 42.2% from three-point range last season with the Pistons.
The Lakers were in dire need of shooting to surround their stars, and Ellington represents one of the best options on the market.