Alex Caruso was one of the most beloved members of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2019-20 championship team.
As such, it came as a shock as many when he ultimately ended up signing with the Chicago Bulls this offseason. In the aftermath, varying accounts of what led up to the divorce emerged.
This week, Caruso finally revealed what really happened between him and the Lakers.
Our guy Alex Caruso (@ACFresh21) on what exactly happened In free agency that led him to The Chicago Bulls.
— TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) November 10, 2021
“So going into (free agency), I really didn’t know what to expect, and I really didn’t hear much from any team — including the Lakers — leading up to 6 p.m., and then they called, and the Lakers made their offer,” Caruso said.
“It wasn’t an offer I was going to accept because I was going to be able to get considerably more money from another team. There was talk with a bunch of different people about the mid-level, which I think was four (years), $40 million. We never got anybody to that actual number, but there were a couple teams that got close. And then my agent texted me and said, ‘Hey, Chicago is interested in signing you.’ I didn’t know that financially it was going to be able to work. I thought that once Zo (Lonzo Ball) signed with Chicago, I was like, ‘OK, so Chicago is off the list.’”
At that point, the Bulls opted to put full court pressure on Caruso.
“I got on the phone with (Bulls GM Artūras Karnišovas) and with (head coach Billy Donovan), and the way they were just talking about how they wanted to play and how they saw me as a player, I thought they hit the nail on the head,” he continued. “I thought everything they said, I was like, ‘I think that’s accurate, I think that’s what I bring to the table, I think that’s how I can help the team win, I think that’s the direction this team wants to go.’ I thought there was a need for the stuff that I had.
“Essentially we got that offer, went back to L.A., asked if they could do the same, they said, ‘No.’ Asked for something else that was a little less, they said, ‘No.’ So I said, ‘OK, if that’s what it comes to, I’m ready to go to Chicago and start the next chapter.’ It’s been great. I think it’s been a great decision for me.”
Now that’s a Halloween costume. https://t.co/WVK6W11K9M
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 1, 2021
That is how Caruso came to ink a four-year, $37 million deal with Chicago this past offseason.
Based on how the Lakers have looked so far without Caruso this year, it’s safe to say that they would’ve been wise to work harder in bringing him back.