Contrary to what was originally thought, Alex Caruso’s contract has him aboard for two years.
Caruso played a surprisingly prominent role for the team in 2017-2018. A good part of the reasoning behind this was because of the injuries the Lakers sustained, with Lonzo Ball being a prime example.
In his rookie campaign, Caruso may have only averaged 3.6 points and two assists a night in his 37 appearances. While that may not look great on paper, the 24-year-old proved he is capable of running the show.
This natural ability of his was first seen last year during Summer League competition in Las Vegas. Due to the impression he made, the Lakers made a two-way pact with Caruso.
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No one was quite sure whether Caruso’s game would translate at the NBA level. Some of the reasoning behind this thinking stems from how new the two-way system is.
That being said, the expectations placed upon Caruso were not high whatsoever. After all, the contract itself indicates that he was never going to have a full-time role with the Lakers.
The benefit of the two-way system is that it enables a player to transition between an NBA team and their G League organization with ease. Thus, there is the perk of being able to get some experience with the big boys.
On the other hand, there is a limitation associated with it. Two-way players can be called up for a maximum of 45 days during the G League season. Therefore, there a few catches teams must be aware of.
Despite that truth, the Texas native made good use of the minutes Luke Walton gave him. While Caruso is not a flashy player, he is the type that tends to make the right play. That is an important quality that should never be taken for granted.
The point guard will get to showcase this quality even more next season for Los Angeles. Contrary to what was originally surmised, Caruso’s deal was not one of the one-and-done variety.
Via Trevor Lane of Lakers Nation (originally courtesy of Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report), the deal expires after next season.
Having Caruso aboard for another year will be helpful in case the Lakers experience health concerns. However, if the young man proves himself again this summer, it is not unrealistic to think that the 16-time champs could consider giving him the backup role for good.
Tyler Ennis was L.A.’s main backup to Ball in 2017-2018. However, Ennis was rather underwhelming for the most part. His poor play also opened up the door for Caruso as the season progressed.
Thus, this summer will be a bit of a litmus test for the latter. Assuming No. 4 answers the call, Ennis may be the odd man out for the Lakers.
One of Alex’s best performance of the year came on January 21. Against the Knicks, the two-way player scored nine points while collecting eight dimes as well. Granted they may not be the gaudiest numbers, it reveals that Caruso is no slouch.
Caruso’s current status as a two-way player may not be the most conventional. There is no denying that. At the same time, there is no denying that he is a solid point guard.
Assuming he continues to work on his craft, the Lakers may be forced to give the young man more minutes next year. It is certainly possible.