NBA training camp is nearly here, which means fans will soon get their first glimpse of the new-look Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers overhauled their roster in an attempt to better compete for an NBA title and so far they look like the slight favorite to win it all. Los Angeles brought in several veterans who should be able to be effective in minimal roles, while also re-signing an important building block of the future in Talen Horton-Tucker.
While keeping Horton-Tucker was clearly a priority, the Lakers ended up letting Alex Caruso walk in free agency. Vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka revealed at a recent press conference though that the team did their best to try and keep him.
“We made an aggressive attempt to re-sign Alex Caruso and we made an aggressive attempt to keep Talen [Horton-Tucker], and that’s the thing with unrestricted free agents,” Pelinka said. “You can be in the mix, but players control the ultimate choice and Alex was tremendous here as a championship player and we’ll be forever grateful for his contributions and his growth. Seeing him go from a G League two-way to an elite player was something we’ll always be proud of, but he had choices and he chose another team.
“But we pursued him and wanted to keep him. Same with Talen. Obviously, came to a deal with Talen and Alex moved on, but we had a plan to take some of the skill set that Alex brought to the table and find that in other free agents that were available and I think if you look at how we ended up filling out the roster, it was important for us to be strong in all the different basketball categories and we felt we dimensionalized that with some of the other guys we signed.”
Caruso was a major part of the rotation and the Lakers had his Bird Rights, so it was surprising to see the fan-favorite leave for the Chicago Bulls. Caruso was reportedly willing to re-sign for less money, but apparently Los Angeles could not come to a number that made sense for them considering the luxury tax ramifications.
Losing Caruso certainly hurts since the Lakers will inevitably run into several elite guards en route to a championship, but they must feel confident in the current roster and their new additions to allow the hard-nosed guard to leave.
Caruso thanks Lakers organization and fans
Caruso endeared himself to Lakers Nation with his effort each and every night, so he made sure to thanks the fans and the organization in a heartfelt Instagram post after signing with the Bulls.
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