Los Angeles Lakers extend qualifying offers to Alex Caruso, Johnathan Williams

Alex Caruso and Johnathan Williams
Mar 15, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) talks to guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) forward Johnathan Williams (19) and guard Isaac Bonga (17) during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

We’re four days away from the start of free agency on June 30th, but that doesn’t mean the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t extending offers to players. No, that doesn’t mean the team found a loophole in the system to offer D’Angelo Russell or Kawhi Leonard a deal before anyone else did. All it means is that the team officially announced that they extended qualifying offers to Alex Caruso and Johnathan Williams, making them restricted free agents (first reported by Tania Ganguli/LA Times).

There are a couple of things to be noted with these two offers. One is that Johnathan Williams will be a two-way player if he accepts, most likely spending most of his time on the South Bay Lakers if he accepts while (most importantly) not counting against the Lakers’ salary cap. Second, is what Alex Caruso’s cap hit will be if he accepts his offer, or if the Lakers revoke the offer then sign him afterward. This is important given the Lakers intentions to sign a max free agent in a few days and how much they need to manuever around to get there.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explained Caruso’s QO and the Lakers’ goal of signing a max free agent below:

Simple, right?

This process obviously involves a great deal of communication between the Lakers and Caruso, while the team is presumably having conversations with their max free agent at the same time. Although I’m sure Caruso would not be opposed to signing with the team at the bare minimum when he gets to play with the likes of Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and another superstar.

Caruso and Williams were both fan favorites towards the end of the year as both players joined fellow G-Leaguer Jemerrio Jones in balling out for the Lakers as the team was eliminated from playoff contention. Caruso specifically made an impression with Lakers’ fans, as he was seemingly outplaying Rajon Rondo down the stretch. The former Texas A&M Aggie averaged 12.3 PPG and 4.2 APG in the final 18 games of the season, while only playing in five of the first 64 games of the season.

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