The Bald Eagle will now soar away from L.A. and the Staples Center. The Los Angeles Lakers have let Alex Caruso walk, as Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN reports that he will sign with the Chicago Bulls on a four-year deal worth $37 million.
After losing Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lakers fans were probably hoping to not lose any more players from the 2019-20 championship team. The best player of those remaining Lakers was easily Alex Caruso, as this news is going to leave a sour taste in the mouths of Lakers fans for a while.
This news isn’t too surprising, though, when you consider the Saturday report from Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus that said the Lakers may let Caruso walk if he was receiving offers from other teams north of $4 million to $6 million per year.
It’s still sad when considering that Jeanie Buss and the Lakers have one roster spot available to free agents for the taxpayers’ mid-level exception ($5.9 million) with all other free agents needing to sign veteran minimum contracts. It’s doubtful that the Lakers would be able to attract a player with Caruso’s youth and talent with those types of salaries, making their reluctance to pony up more cash a bit of a head-scratcher.
It was previously reported that Alex Caruso (as well as Talen Horton-Tucker) would have “multiple suitors” once the 2021 NBA Free Agency period began.
Caruso will be entering his fifth NBA season after first playing for the Lakers as part of a two-way contract that saw him spending most of his time with the Lakers’ G-League, the South Bay Lakers. Before getting signed to the Lakers’ G-League team, Caruso played for the Thunder’s G-League team, the Oklahoma City Blue after not being drafted in the 2016 NBA Draft.
The Bald Eagle has made a name for himself as an amazing defender with special instincts. He’s also become known for his surprising hops, creating some memorable highlights in his time with the Lakers. He averaged 6.4 points (40.1 3P%) 2.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game in the 2020-21 season.