Lakers guard Alex Caruso received assurances from the new coaching staff that he’d have a legitimate chance to make the rotation before he agreed to re-sign, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register reports.
Caruso’s conversation with coach Frank Vogel convinced him to ink a two-year, $5.5MM deal in July, though Caruso did not receive a bigger offer in the early stages of free agency.
“I knew there was opportunity,” Caruso said. “Coach Vogel called me when I was pretty close to making a decision and said there’s opportunity for minutes and that’s all I’ve ever needed in my career.”
Vogel has delivered on that pledge. Caruso has played in 27 of 29 games, averaging 5.4 PPG in 20.4 MPG.
Goon provided a number of other insights regarding the players who re-signed with the Lakers in free agency:
- Rajon Rondo knew when he agreed to a two-year, $5.26MM contract with a player option that he’d have a reduced role. Rondo has appeared in 17 games, averaging 7.7 PPG and 5.6 APG in 21.36 MPG. “Very transparent,” the veteran point guard said of the front office’s plans for him. “Told me my role coming in, what they expected from me and how I could be a part of this run we’re trying to make.”
- Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said it wasn’t a slam dunk he’d return, even though agent Rich Paul also represents the Lakers superstars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. “I wanted to be back, but with my agent, went through the process of free agency,” he said. “Pros and cons, where I want to be. It was all about what I wanted, and we just took it from there.” Caldwell-Pope signed an incentive-laden two-year, $19MM deal with a player option.
- Center JaVale McGee was intent on returning, especially when he learned that Davis preferred to play power forward, opening a starting spot for him. McGee took a two-year, $8.2MM deal with a player option. He’s averaging 7.1 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 27 starts. “I felt like this is the best opportunity for me to possibly start and win the championship out of any other team,” he said. “I took it.”