The Los Angeles Lakers’ decision to let Alex Caruso leave this offseason was met with much criticism at the time. In hindsight, the move was even worse than originally believed.
Caruso currently leads the league in steals with 2.5 per game, all while playing just 27.2 minutes per game. Nobody else in the top six plays less than 30 minutes per outing.
Beyond just Caruso’s individual stats, his impact on the team has translated into wins. So far this season the Bulls are 8-4 – good for third place in the Eastern Conference.
On Friday, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr weighed in on Caruso departing from the Lakers. His response to the move was hilarious.
Steve Kerr on Alex Caruso: “He’s great. I was really happy to see him go to the Eastern Conference”
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) November 13, 2021
This week, Caruso attempted to set the record straight during an appearance on the Old Man and The Three podcast.
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.’”
However, the Bulls wanted him – badly.
“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.”
Scottie Pippen kept it real on Larsa. https://t.co/yRYNac03ry
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 11, 2021
With the Lakers in disarray right now, one can’t help but wonder if they regret letting Caruso walk.
In retrospect, it might’ve been one of the offseason’s absolute worst moves.