Lakers Rumors: Caruso, THT, Schröder, Jones

The Lakers have superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis locked up to long-term contracts, but will face some challenges during the 2021 offseason as they look to retain some of their key role players, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

One of those players is Alex Caruso, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career (he re-signed with the Lakers as a restricted FA in 2019). While Caruso’s numbers (5.8 PPG, 2.4 APG) are relatively modest, he’s a solid 3-point shooter (38.8%) and a capable defender who will be hitting the open market in his prime at age 27.

Caruso is expected to have suitors, according to Windhorst, who says some league executives think the veteran guard’s market could be in the neighborhood of the full, non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which will be worth around $9.5MM.

While I’d be surprised if Caruso got the full MLE from a rival team, there certainly may be clubs looking to put pressure on the Lakers by poaching away some of their rotation players, which could result in some higher offers than expected.

Let’s round up a few more Lakers notes…

  • Second-year wing Talen Horton-Tucker is another player whom teams may compete over during the 2021 free agent period, per Windhorst. “He’s a gifted defender with great length and great upside who’s just 20 years old,” one Eastern Conference executive told ESPN. “In this market, that’s exactly the type of player you want to chase.” Horton-Tucker will be a restricted free agent who will be subject to the Arenas provision, meaning a rival suitor could put pressure on the Lakers by offering him a backloaded three- or four-year deal.
  • The extend-and-trade restrictions that limited Dennis Schröder‘s ability to sign a longer-term extension before he reaches free agency have lifted, so it’s safe to assume he and the Lakers will explore a new deal. Windhorst identifies Dejounte Murray (four years, $64MM), Bogdan Bogdanovic (four years, $72MM), and Fred VanVleet (four years, $85MM) as some potential points of comparison for the Schröder negotiations.
  • Veteran center Damian Jones looked good in his first appearance as a Laker on Sunday, recording eight points, three rebounds, and two blocks in eight minutes of action in a blowout win over Golden State. Jones, who is on a 10-day contract, is auditioning for a longer look with the team, as Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register writes. “I think he’s got a shot to be here (longer) if he can just do what he did out there,” Kyle Kuzma said of Jones.
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28 thoughts on “Lakers Rumors: Caruso, THT, Schröder, Jones

  1. bowserhound

    Jones looked real good. If he does that again before his 10 days are up (does the ASG affect that?), Lakers definitely lock him up for at least the rest of the season.

  2. Cantbebeat2020

    I’d pass on schroder after this season, especially when you can sign lonzo who’s a much better defender and passer to denis. I doubt Pelicans offer lonzo a contract in line with what lonzo will require. Lonzo next to lebron and ad makes this team much better defensively. My ideal situation would be deal kuzma either for lonzo or salary relief, let denis walk and extend caruso and talon.

    • Hannibal8us

      I just have a feeling that Lonzo won’t come back to the team that ditched him. There’s plenty of other large markets for him to get the attention his dad craves.

    • Chief Two Hands

      Schroder is much better than Ball. Ball is completely overrated. I agree that the Pelicans would want to move him…simply because he is overrated.

      • Cantbebeat2020

        I disagree chief, denis is a horrible defender and not shooting as well as advertised meanwhile lonzo is much younger with higher upside. We need a guard who can guard those like kyrie, and harden, curry, kawhi etc.

        • x%sure

          Lonzo will wind way overpaid due to such ridiculous advocacy. Lakers cannot afford such whims, nor can they afford to keep around popular young players just for some future. Play them or say bye.

          Talking about how Lonzo is good for LJ. HOW? LJ is the PG; but he needs a smaller teammate to cover opposing PGs; that leaves Lonzo, whose strengths are off-ball and size, without purpose. The stats of Ball and Schroder are about equal but Ball’s for defense have declined.

          Face it Tatsu, LJ is your man, too bad you hate him. The Lakers will be making the moves LJ/RichPaul approves of and probably, originates in the first place.

      • adamsessler

        Just a straight up comparison, Lonzo is the better player right now. Lonzo has progressed as a shooter each of the last 3 years & is now shooting the 3 at an elite level; he’s 1 of only 8 players in the NBA to attempt at least 230 3PT shots & hit over 39.5% of those shots. The other people on that list are guys like Steph Curry, Joe Harris, & James Harden. Elite… And again, the year-to-year progression that Lonzo has made in his scoring efficiency is indicative of a young player who is getting better & better, as opposed to a player who happens to be on a hot streak or just having 1 good season.

        On the other hand, Schroder is an extremely inefficient scorer. His season & career 3PT%, TS%, & eFG% are far below league average. He was above average in that category last season when he set career highs (by a large margin) in most of his efficiency stats, which I’m sure the Lakers was hoping was a sign of progression, but this season, all of Schroder’s efficiency stats have regressed to his career norms, which again are below average.

        As for the other skills the two players bring to the table, Lonzo is the better defender, rebounder, & playmaker. People may not like Lonzo b/c he was overhyped when he came into the NBA or b/c of his loudmouth dad, but he’s a very nice NBA player & having a pretty great year this season.

    • Curtisrowe

      You were thrilled about the Lakers signing Schroeder before the season. Had you ever seen him play before?

    • Wendell

      Tripppppin. Lonzo can’t shoot. Kuzma is a much better locker room guy in my opinion.

      • adamsessler

        @Wendell: Lonzo can’t shoot??? This was definitely true when he was w/ the Lakers, but now? C’mon…

        Lonzo has steadily improved his 3PT shooting in each of his 4 seasons in the NBA. He’s currently hitting 3’s at 39.7%, which is outstanding, especially considering the number of 3’s he takes. To this point, he is 1 of only 8 NBA players who have taken at least 230 3PT shots & hit at least 39.5% of those shots. The other guys on that list are guys like Steph, Joe Harris, & Harden…or in other words, elite shooters.

        Compare that to Schroder’s 3PT shooting. For his career, Schroder was a below-average 3PT shooter. He had 1 season in which he was above average, which was last season in which he shot 38.5%. However, he has regressed back to his career norms & is once again a (far) below average 3PT shooter.

        So let’s stop w/ this “Lonzo can’t shoot” nonsense b/c the stats & reality don’t back that up.

  3. Sillivan

    If every player gets market salary, this year is the Lakers last dance

    Where are the spaces?

    Pay cut negotiation is the key to Lakers success

    • x_burner_X

      If rival executives are really that high on THT, Lakers should see what they can get for him at thw trade deadline – maybe Miles Bridges?

      As for other FAs – I think Caruso gets something like 3 yr 20 mil, Harrel leaves, so do Mathews and Morris. Schroeder extends for something like 4 yr 70 mil.
      LAL cant go after Lonzo even if they renounce all their FA, so they either keep Schroeder or loose him for nothing.

      • Chief Two Hands

        Why would the Lakers want Lonzo? They wanted to get rid of that kid…he is available for a reason

      • Sillivan

        This article should add more information
        THT max is 4 years $82 million contract

        Other teams are likely to offer him 3 years $40 million
        If Lakers match the offer, Lakers would add additional 39 million – his costs would be 52 million next season only

  4. jacobsigel1025

    FVV is too good to be a comp for Schroeder. I think it’s kinda weird to comp Schroeder to Bogdanovic but the Murray money comp makes sense to me

    • x%sure

      They might all be better than Schroder or Ball… but the Lakers need cheaper to maintain depth & flexibility… like Caruso!

  5. Sillivan

    Lakers salary 2021-22
    8 players 122 million
    Roster charge for 3 players 3 million
    14 million to reach luxury
    Market salary
    Schroeder 17m
    THT 7m
    Carusa 6m
    Morris 1m

    Luxury tax 45 m

  6. "Stons" Fan

    Laker fans tell me what you think the odds of the Lakers matching a 4 yr 60 mill contract for THT are.

    • Wendell

      It alllll depends on how they perform in the playoffs.

      Let THT sink a few big 3s like the one AD versus the Nuggets in the playoffs and I’m sure the Lakers will pay

    • Cap & Crunch

      Just depends how much tax Bill they can stomach- They cant add outside help for years, have minimal draft picks and most of their exceptions are already used up in the near future –

      They kinda have to go after him harder than most would think….4/40 is the Norm, perhaps they could talk him down to 4/44 or 4/48 to stay put

      He’s still got major holes in his game- No floater, no mid range, TO prone, gets lost on D too often…… saying that I think theres enough upside to look back and say 4/48 was a steal

  7. davethemailman

    Lakers fan here: No, I don’t think the Lakers would match a 4-yr 60 million dollar salary for Talen Horton-Tucker. They couldn’t afford to, could they? But I also don’t see any other team offering that kind of money. Isn’t he too young and still learning? We would love to keep him if there’s a reasonable way to do so.

    I also think that we will and should re-sign Dennis Schroeder to a new deal. Dennis and Lonzo have different strengths and weaknesses, but I for sure favor Schroeder over Ball. I’ve liked Schroeder for a long time and was thrilled when we got him. The Lakers are a better team when he’s in the game.

    I’ll have to trust Rob Pelinka on how to make the salaries work. If there’s a way to re-sign Montrezl Harrell and Alex Caruso I would love to see them return as well. There will be some tough decisions about who will stay and who will go after this year. In my opinion Schroeder has to stay and then we’ll know how much money is left over for other players.

    Thank you for all of the great information you fellow NBA fans share!

    • Cap & Crunch

      Dave, they could, just depends how much tax Jeanie and Co is willing to go – They really only can “retain” players and are not going to be any kind of player in free agency soon

      Harrell has option next year, really outta Robs hands w/ him – I hope he accepts it

      I totally agree on Dennis, hes the 3rd most important player on the team and keeps gas in LeBrons tank all year long w his contributions- I think 4/72 is a fair number for everybody

      If tax is a problem moving forward I actually think the piece to go is KCP before this years trade deadline for an expiring Big

      This article interested me greatly as well bc it seems for a while we were only going to be able to keep 4 outta the 5 between Schroeder-Caruso-Tht- KCP and Kuzma at best….and then crossing fingers on Trez……. The books are touchy moving forward….. Im sure the phones will be busy next couple weeks not so sure it anything comes to fruition

  8. davethemailman

    On another topic, Damian Jones looked good for us last night in his first game as a Laker. I hope he continues to work hard and we’ll see if he can make the team. Go Lakers!

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