Did Klutch Sports prevent Lakers from re-signing Alex Caruso?
There may have been more than meets the eye with Alex Caruso’s departure from the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason.
BIll Oram of The Athletic reported this week on the Lakers’ attempts to re-sign Caruso over the summer. The team reportedly held firm at an offer of three years and $21 million for Caruso despite attempts by Caruso’s camp to compromise. Oram adds that Caruso was willing to accept a two-year, $20 million contract, which the Lakers said no to. Caruso would eventually leave to sign a four-year, $37 million deal with the Chicago Bulls.
The article also says that Caruso’s exit paved the way for the Lakers to offer more money to guard Talen Horton-Tucker, a client of Klutch Sports, and prevent Horton-Tucker from signing an offer sheet elsewhere. They would end up giving Horton-Tucker a three-year, $31 million deal.
On paper, it did not really seem to make much sense for the Lakers to pick the 20-year-old Horton-Tucker over Caruso, a win-now role player who had already established himself a championship-level rotation guy. Meanwhile, Horton-Tucker, though plenty talented, is a lesser-proven commodity who needs the ball in his hands a bit more. On a team led by an almost 37-year-old LeBron James and other aging stars, Caruso would have been the more logical fit. It is especially head-scratching given that Horton-Tucker ended up getting a longer deal with a higher average annual value than what Caruso was willing to accept to return to the Lakers.
But the pieces of the puzzle might start to fall into place when you consider the link with Klutch. James and Anthony Davis are both represented by the powerhouse agency. We also know that the Lakers have a history of taking care of Klutch clients, even the agency’s non-star players, during the James era. That as much as anything could have played a role in Caruso’s ultimate departure from the team that drafted him.
Photo: Apr 3, 2018; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) warms up prior to the game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports