Alex Caruso is no longer a Laker. The fan-favorite guard cashed in on his value and signed a 4-year $37 million contract with the Chicago Bulls. Lakers fans are naturally very upset, as Caruso had become a popular figure for the franchise. Caruso leaving marks the fourth departure from the Lakers franchise after Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell. Caruso brought a defensive strength to the Lakers, something that they would need next season. Currently, fans are trying to understand why the Lakers wouldn't try to keep Caruso, especially given how well he has played for them over recent seasons.
And if reports are to be believed, the Lakers had the opportunity to re-sign Caruso but passed him up. As noted earlier, Caruso signed a 4-year, $37 million with the Chicago Bulls. But according to reports, Caruso and his agents went to the Lakers after they got this offer from the Chicago Bulls, and asked them if they would match it. The Lakers refused, and Caruso went on to sign the contract with the Chicago Bulls.
Former teammates like Kyle Kuzma and Jared Dudley also acknowledged how much they and the franchise would miss him. But the Lakers letting Caruso go is still a significant piece of news. The Lakers have added new guards such as Russell Westbrook and Wayne Ellington, who probably don't have his level of performances on the defensive end of the court.
Perhaps the Lakers refused to re-sign Caruso because of their cap constraints with the trade for Russell Westbrook. Acquiring Westbrook, who has one of the biggest contracts in the NBA, significantly restricts the money that the Lakers can offer to players. This is why the Lakers are trying to acquire veteran guards at minimum contracts to make things work without falling into the luxury tax. But the loss of Caruso will be felt by the Lakers next season.