Most fans would agree that the biggest mistake the Los Angeles Lakers made this offseason was letting Alex Caruso walk. Caruso agreed to a four-year, $37 million contract with the Chicago Bulls that easily could have been matched by the Lakers.
The Lakers had Bird Rights on Caruso so they could have re-signed him despite being over the salary cap. The reason why the Lakers ultimately did not re-sign Caruso was the tax implications, as signing Caruso would have resulted in around $40 million more in total payments for the Lakers.
While that seems to be a valid reason, the Lakers are a multi-billion-dollar sports franchise. Could they have afforded the extra $40 million this year? Probably.
Caruso is already making the Los Angeles Lakers look foolish as he has been playing exceptionally for the Chicago Bulls. His presence on this Lakers team is sorely missed and even Caruso knows it, taking the time to share a meme on Instagram to poke fun at the Lakers and LeBron James.
The Los Angeles Lakers should miss the LeBron James-Alex Caruso tandem
While Anthony Davis is obviously the second star in Los Angeles people did not realize how impactful Alex Caruso was with the Lakers. In fact, because of his ability to defend and his increasing offensive ability later in his Lakers’ stint, it is safe to say that Caruso might have been the best role player that LeBron has ever played with.
The numbers don’t lie. Caruso and LeBron played exceptionally well together when they shared the court over the last two seasons and that is one of the main reasons why the Lakers won the title in 2020.
Caruso and LeBron shared the court for 560.7 minutes in the 2019-2020 season. Of every single two-man lineup on the Lakers that season, Caruso and LeBron had the most net points per 100 possessions at +18.7. Just LeBron and Davis were +8.3.
It gets even better. That was actually the best two-man combination in the entire league that season (min. 500 minutes played). The second-best two-man combination was Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe, who averaged +18.2 net points per 100 possessions.
Caruso and LeBron were also the best combination for the Lakers last season as well. The duo averaged +16.4 net points per 100 possessions in the 397.2 minutes played together. They fell to the 13th-best combo in the league last season with at least 390 minutes played.
There is no denying Caruso’s impact on the Los Angeles Lakers, and more specifically, how well he played alongside LeBron James. It might be a meme, but we wouldn’t be surprised if LeBron really is staying up late at night and thinking about the good times with Caruso.