The Lakers Passed On A Hometown Discount To Bring Alex Caruso Back After He Got An Offer From Chicago

At 7-3, the Chicago Bulls find themselves tied atop the Eastern Conference, thanks in part to free agent acquisition Alex Caruso and his versatile, pestering defense and secondary ball-handling. Meanwhile, Caruso’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, are floundering at 6-5 for a litany of reasons (injuries among them), in part because of insufficient point-of-attack defense, an issue Caruso could considerably rectify.

After meeting with Bulls brass during free agency and receiving an offer, Caruso, appearing on The Old Man and the Three podcast, said he and his representatives returned to Los Angeles asking the organization to match that offer.

“(The Lakers) said no,” Caruso said. “We asked for something else that was a little less, (they) said no, so we said, ‘OK, well, 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.”

Caruso, who signed a four-year, $37 million with Chicago, said the mid-level exception, which is roughly $10 million annually, was a target range of his during negotiations. When JJ Redick asked if the Lakers’ initial offer was higher or lower than two years, $15 million, Caruso implied it was lower.

He also said the Lakers’ initial offer before he met with any other teams “wasn’t an offer (he) was going to accept because (he) was going to be able to get considerably more money from another team.”