Alex Caruso reveals Lakers lowballed him and offered less than 2-years, $15 million

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso revealed that the Los Angeles Lakers lowballed him in free agency this past offseason.

Caruso revealed how his free agency experience unfolded on J.J. Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

“So going into (free agency), I really didn’t know what to expect, and I really didn’t hear much from any team — including the Lakers — leading up to 6 p.m., and then they called, and the Lakers made their offer,” Caruso said. “It wasn’t an offer I was going to accept because I was going to be able to get considerably more money from another team.

“There was talk with a bunch of different people about the mid-level, which I think was four (years), $40 million. We never got anybody to that actual number, but there were a couple teams that got close. And then my agent texted me and said, ‘Hey, Chicago is interested in signing you.’ I didn’t know that financially it was going to be able to work. I thought that once Zo (Lonzo Ball) signed with Chicago, I was like, ‘OK, so Chicago is off the list.’

“I got on the phone with (Bulls GM Artūras Karnišovas) and with (head coach Billy Donovan), and the way they were just talking about how they wanted to play and how they saw me as a player, I thought they hit the nail on the head. I thought everything they said, I was like, ‘I think that’s accurate, I think that’s what I bring to the table, I think that’s how I can help the team win, I think that’s the direction this team wants to go.’ I thought there was a need for the stuff that I had.

“Essentially we got that offer, went back to L.A., asked if they could do the same, they said, ‘No.’ Asked for something else that was a little less, they said, ‘No.’ So I said, ‘OK, if that’s what it comes to, I’m ready to go to Chicago and start the next chapter.’ It’s been great. I think it’s been a great decision for me.”

Caruso ended up signing a four-year, $37 million deal with the Bulls and has been a key part of their rotation this season.

“As if that wasn’t shameful enough, the Lakers’ original offer was less than two years and $15 million, which Redick confirmed by asking Caruso to blink once if his guess of the team’s initial offer was over what it actually was, and blink twice if it was under, and then guessed ‘two for 15,’” Silver Screen and Roll’s Harrison Faigen wrote.

“Caruso blinked once, and Redick laughed.”

Caruso is having a strong season, as the defensive-minded guard is averaging 7.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from beyond the arc this season.

The Lakers are mixing and matching players in their current rotation to replace the loss of Caruso, but it appears the team felt he wasn’t worth the financial burden of the Bulls’ offer.

The Lakers are 6-5 so far this season and will face the Miami Heat on Wednesday at Staples Center.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.