After a disappointing 2018-2019 NBA season that saw them miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season, the Lakers have vaulted into championship contender status after adding arguably the best big man in Davis. With Davis on board, Los Angeles boasts two of the best players in the league and that is generally a recipe for success.
However, the Lakers also managed to bring back several of their players from last season, including Alex Caruso. Caruso, who impressed down the stretch after they had been eliminated from the playoffs, figures to be a major part of the rotation thanks to his defense and shooting.
According to Leo Sepkowitz of Bleacher Report, several teams were interesting in signing Caruso during 2019 NBA free agency:
This summer, Caruso hit restricted free agency, granting him negotiating power for the first time in his pro career. About a dozen teams showed interest in him, including the Warriors and Grizzlies, but he chose to wait as the Lakers maneuvered the cap and the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes. Caruso followed along closely—where else?—on Twitter.
Kawhi Leonard’s free agency put the Lakers in a bind as they could not risk using their cap space in the event he chose them. After Leonard eventually settled on the Los Angeles Clippers, it appears the Lakers made Caruso a priority:
When Leonard signed with the Clippers, the Lakers moved quickly on Caruso, signing him for two more years. “The feeling of signing a guaranteed deal—NBA money—that was surreal,” he says.
Caruso’s journey to the NBA has been nothing short of inspiring as he spent the early part of his professional seasons down in the NBA G League with the Oklahoma City Blue and South Bay Lakers. To date, Caruso has only appeared 62 games but is primed to be a rotational player on a Lakers team that needs perimeter defenders and lead guards.
The 25-year-old’s improvement upon last season’s success will be a key factor in determining whether or not Los Angeles has what it takes to make a deep playoff run. It will be interesting to see what how much of an impact Caruso will make when the new season finally gets going.