The Los Angeles Lakers let defensive-minded guard Alex Caruso walk in free agency this past offseason, and some NBA executives aren’t fans of the move.
Caruso, 27, signed a four-year, $37 million deal with the Chicago Bulls and has immediately made an impact on their team. Chicago is 6-3 on the season heading into a matchup with the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.
“Caruso may not be super-talented [offensively] with the basketball, but he has a high IQ for all the little things and is obviously a stud defender,” a Western Conference executive told Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus.
Not only that, but one executive thinks the Lakers made a major mistake in letting Caruso walk in the offseason.
“The Lakers boffed that one,” the Eastern Conference executive said. “I’m not sure what they were thinking.”
The Lakers have tried to replace Caruso’s production with a few other players, such as Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington and Kent Bazemore.
However, two of Los Angeles’ biggest acquisitions, Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza, have yet to play this season due to injury.
Caruso has appeared in all nine games for the Bulls this season and is averaging 28.3 minutes per game. The career high in minutes has allowed Caruso to flourish in other aspects of his game, as he’s averaging 8.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Los Angeles is hoping that one of its new pieces will step up to fill Caruso’s role, but it is curious that the team was unwilling to match Chicago’s offer in hopes of securing his services for the 2021-22 season and beyond.
The Lakers are 5-5 on the season and face the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. PST.