The Los Angeles Lakers called up Alex Caruso from their South Bay affiliate of the G League, and though he’s available for Wednesday’s game against the Orlando Magic, head coach Luke Walton said Caruso likely won’t travel with the team when they play the Denver Nuggets on Friday.
After Wednesday, Caruso will have just three available days he can spend with the Lakers as part of his two-way contract. Traveling to Denver would use up two of the those days, lending to the expected decision he’ll return to South Bay.
Walton did indicate the Lakers will again call up Caruso on Sunday, when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers. One way around worrying about days Caruso has remaining would be to sign him to a guaranteed contract.
But the team doesn’t seem inclined to do as much. “As of now, the plan is once his days are out he’ll be with the G League team,” Walton explained. “And when their playoffs end, he can join our team, even without any days left.”
The G League season concludes March 24, and their playoffs begin three days later. The league switched to a four-round, 12-team playoff format for the first time this season.
The team with the best regular-season record in each division qualifies for the postseason as one of six division winners. The remaining six playoff berths will be filled by the three wild card teams in each conference that have the best regular-season records, other than the division winners.
Division winners will hold the first, second and third seeds, with the wild card teams seeded fourth through sixth. The playoffs will begin with three single-elimination rounds before culminating with a best-of-three NBA G League Finals.
As it stands, the South Bay Lakers are 26-17 and one game behind the Austin Spurs for the best record in the Western Conference. Even if South Bay were to have a deep playoff run, Caruso conceivably could still join the Lakers for a handful of games to close out the regular season.