Whether they repeat as NBA champs or not, the Los Angeles Lakers will have some tough roster decisions to make later this summer.
One concerns key reserve guard Alex Caruso, who will become a free agent at the conclusion of the playoffs. The team is hopeful he will re-sign for one key reason.
“Alex Caruso will also become an unrestricted free agent this summer,” wrote Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. “League executives polled by B/R suggested the point guard could command upwards of $12 million in average annual value, a similar number that restricted free agent Talen Horton-Tucker may also command for an offer sheet. Although there is a sense among Lakers officials that Caruso has relished supporting [LeBron] James and has an interest in staying in Los Angeles to compete alongside the four-time MVP.”
Caruso quickly became a fan favorite two years ago when he was called up from the G League to start amidst an injury-riddled season for the Lakers.
His energy, hustle, defense and ability to play off James have made him a valuable part of head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation.
In addition to Caruso and Horton-Tucker, starting point guard Dennis Schroder and starting center Andre Drummond will also be free agents in the late summer.
If the Lakers don’t at least reach the NBA Finals, league history shows that there’s a real chance that executive Rob Pelinka will look to shuffle the deck in order to make the most of James’ remaining elite years.