Free agent guard Alex Caruso reportedly will have multiple options this offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
Given that the Los Angeles Lakers don’t have the right to match any offer that Caruso receives, they might have to outbid other interested teams in order to keep him.
“The Lakers should and will try to retain both Caruso and Horton-Tucker, but that will depend on how deep they are willing to go into the luxury tax,” The Athletic’s Jovan Buha and Bill Oram wrote. “Caruso knocked down 40.1 percent of his 3s last season. He is expected to meet with several teams when free agency begins Monday afternoon, a league source told The Athletic, with a belief that he will have multiple options at the full midlevel exception of $9.5 million. The Lakers presumably would be willing to go into the low double-digits to retain Caruso. He is a known commodity, albeit one with a clear ceiling.”
Some of his potential suitors were revealed recently.
Last season, Caruso averaged 6.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from beyond the arc.
While his numbers don’t jump off the page, Caruso is a solid defender (he had a 2.3 defensive box plus/minus last season) and fits into a role with the Lakers’ current roster.
Los Angeles certainly will have some salary cap constraints after agreeing to trade for Russell Westbrook, but if the Lakers truly value Caruso, there is a path for him to return for next season.
Free agency officially gets under way Monday, Aug. 2, at 3 p.m. PST.