The LA Lakers overhauled their roster in the offseason to help LeBron James and Anthony Davis win their second NBA championship together. However, it did not work out. Latest rumors suggest that LeBron wanted to retain a player who was pivotal in the 2020 bubble championship win.
According to Marc Stein in his latest "The Stein Line on Substack", James was in favor of re-signing Alex Caruso last summer due to his defensive capabilities. The Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook and his bloated contract in the offseason, with the team unwilling to pay Caruso a lot of money.
"LeBron James was a strong advocate for the trade that brought Westbrook to Hollywood and thus has to wear his considerable slice of culpability for how poorly things are working out," Stein wrote.
"Yet one source did point out at least one counter on James’ behalf, noting that he was also one of the organization’s staunchest Alex Caruso fans and badly wanted the Lakers to re-sign the defensive-minded guard," Stein added.
Alex Caruso was an important part of the LA Lakers' 2020 championship run inside the NBA bubble. Caruso provided defense and could score and make plays when needed. The Lakers low-balled Caruso in the offseason with a two-year, $15 million offer.
The 28-year-old turned down the offer and accepted a four-year, $37 million deal with the Chicago Bulls. Caruso has been hit by an injury bug this season but has already contributed a lot to an improved Bulls team. LeBron James and the Lakers, on the other hand, are among the worst defensive teams in the league.
Can LeBron James carry the LA Lakers until the end of the regular season?
LeBron James is having a great season for someone who is already 37 years old. James has been carrying the LA Lakers all season long, with Anthony Davis missing time due to injury and the ineffectiveness of Russell Westbrook.
James' body has been able to withstand the big workload for most of the season, but a bum left knee could end the Lakers season early. "The King" missed LA's loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday and he's listed as questionable against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
The Lakers are ninth in the Western Conference standings with a record of 28-36. The team still qualifies for the play-in tournament, but they need to sustain or even improve their record if they want to have a chance to make the playoffs.
Why? The Lakers have the toughest remaining schedule in the NBA. Outside of the Houston Rockets and OKC Thunder, the Lakers will have to take on teams vying for playoff or play-in positions. Add the fact that the Rockets have kept it close against the Lakers and the Thunder already have two wins over them this season.