GM Rob Pelinka has claimed the LA Lakers tried their best to re-sign guard Alex Caruso in free agency. Not many Lakers fans were too happy with his departure. He became a fan favorite at the club owing to his remarkable performances over the years.
Following Alex Caruso's move to the Chicago Bulls in free agency, reports emerged that the LA Lakers did not counter the offer presented by the Bulls to him. He ended up signing a 4-year $37 million deal with the Eastern Conference team.
However, Pelinka mentioned that the LA Lakers "made an aggressive attempt" to re-sign Alex Caruso. Here's what he said during a pre-preseason presser:
“We made an aggressive attempt to re-sign Alex Caruso and we made an aggressive attempt to keep Talen and that’s the thing with unrestricted free agency: You can be in the mix, but players control the ultimate choice. And Alex was tremendous here. He’s a championship player and we’ll be forever grateful for his contributions and his growth and seeing him go from a G League to a two-way to an elite player is something we’ll always be proud of."
Caruso established himself as a solid two-way player with the Lakeshow during his stint with the franchise. He was vital to their championship run in 2020. Many feel his presence will be missed next season, especially on defense. Caruso's energy coming off the bench was incredible. It is something that has proven to be extremely beneficial for the LA Lakers in the past.
Can the LA Lakers manage without Alex Caruso?
The LA Lakers' main focus this offseason was to acquire as many shooters as possible. They were successful in doing that but had to compromise on their defense to make that happen. With no Alex Caruso or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the squad, the Lakers perimeter defense doesn't appear to be looking that great at the moment.
Caruso's absence could hurt the LA Lakers more, though, as there aren't many players in the squad who can be as effective as him on both ends of the floor. He provided the team with more stability in crunch situations. Talen Horton-Tucker seems like an apt replacement for him in that regard. He plays the same position as Caruso and is likely to come off the bench.
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Horton-Tucker needs to polish his game more. He is expected to develop rapidly, and if he does manage to succeed, the LA Lakers won't have to worry much about Caruso's absence.