6 former Lakers who would’ve turned LA into true title contenders this season

The Lakers need these former players on their roster to be title contenders.

Los Angeles Lakers, Alex Caruso, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, Alex Caruso, LeBron James / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Alex Caruso

In one of the Lakers' biggest mistakes since winning the title in 2020, they chose Talen Horton Tucker over Caruso in free agency in 2021. The 6’5 guard took a four-year $37 million contract from the Bulls that has turned into an absolute steal. He made first-team All-Defense in 2023 and is the ideal role player for any contender.

Caruso is a career 37.2 percent 3-point shooter capable of making plays and playing in any lineup. Need him to defend on the ball or against an elite scorer? He is up to the challenge. The 30-year-old has continued to improve in Chicago, even as the Bulls have struggled to contend.

LeBron James reportedly wanted the Lakers to keep Caruso, and the duo had outstanding chemistry. No two-man combination had a better net rating in 2020 than James and Caruso. The 6’5 guard can space the floor and take some playmaking pressure off the NBA’s all-time scoring leader while playing outstanding defense.

The Los Angeles Lakers do not need a third star. They proved in last season’s run to the conference finals it takes the right group of role players around James and Anthony Davis. Alex Caruso certainly fits that bill and would have made the franchise a title contender this season.