Alex Caruso has finally revealed why he dismissed the contract offer made by the Los Angeles Lakers. After playing for the Purple and Gold team in each of his first four seasons in the NBA, Caruso bolted East and took his gritty game to the Chicago Bulls.
In an episode of The Old Man & the Three, Alex Caruso disclosed the intention to leave LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Here’s how he replied to JJ Redick’s question about not re-signing with his former team:
“The Lakers made an offer. It wasn’t an offer I was gonna accept because I was gonna be able to get more considerable money from another team...A guy that had not have a lot of decision-making power, fought for a job. Essentially, 32 teams told me they didn't think I was good enough to play in the NBA for two, three years. I need to get as much money as this is real life we’re talking about. I need to financially secure myself and the people around me.”
The former Laker also added that he was certain he’s not playing for the Chicago Bulls after news of the Lonzo Ball signing reached him. However, after lengthy talks with the Bulls’ front office, including head coach Billy Donovan, Alex Caruso changed his mind.
Here’s how he viewed the Chicago Bulls’ pitch to him:
“How they saw me as a player, I thought they hit the nail on the head. I thought everything they said was accurate. I think that’s what I bring to the table and help the team win...I thought there was a need for the stuff that I have. So, essentially we got that offer...It’s been a great decision for me. It’s given me a lot more responsibility and accountability. I can’t fall back on LeBron and AD to carry me for the night.”
Alex Caruso is still coming off the bench for the Windy City team, but he has a bigger role than he ever had with the Los Angeles Lakers. His career has also blossomed out of the shadows of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He is averaging career highs in steals (2.3 SPG) and assists (3.9 APG).
How important has Alex Caruso been for the Chicago Bulls this season?
The Chicago Bulls have surprised many with how they have been playing defense this season. Alex Caruso has become a critical part of that team’s defense.
Billy Donovan rolls out a super-undersized team in the most critical moments of the game, with DeMar DeRozan playing power forward. When the switches happen, Alex Caruso often finds himself guarding bigger players like Kevin Durant, Julius Randle and Jayson Tatum. While he’s not been able to shut them down, he has made their lives more difficult than expected.
The five-year veteran is fourth in the league in steals this season. It’s one of the reasons why the Chicago Bulls are also ranked fourth in defensive rating.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in shambles defensively, which only highlights how critical Alex Caruso could have been for them. Caruso leaving for the Bulls might be one of the most underrated losses for the Lakers for years to come.
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