Lakers Notes: Caruso, THT, LeBron, Bazemore, Jordan

After Alex Caruso shared some details on his free agency during a recent appearance on J.J. Redick’s podcast, Bill Oram of The Athletic touched base with the Bulls guard to discuss the subject further, providing some additional specifics on Caruso’s options and what the Lakers were willing to offer him.

As Oram writes, the Bulls and Timberwolves were among the teams that topped the Lakers’ initial offer of $7MM per year. After he received a four-year, $37MM proposal from Chicago, Caruso went back to Los Angeles to see if the team would do $20MM for two years. However, the Lakers were unwilling to increase their offer from $21MM over three years, prompting the veteran guard to choose the Bulls.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • In his first game since signing a three-year, $30MM+ deal and undergoing thumb surgery, Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker was terrific on Sunday vs. San Antonio, scoring 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting in 27 minutes as a starter. While head coach Frank Vogel wouldn’t commit to Horton-Tucker remaining in the starting lineup, he said the 20-year-old will be a “big part” of what the Lakers do. “We invested in him this summer for a reason,” Vogel said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “We have a strong belief in that young man and what he can do on both sides of the ball. Obviously when we get whole, we got a lot of good choices, but he’s going to be a big part of it.”
  • Vogel said on Sunday that LeBron James (abdominal strain) has yet to participate in contact drills or a full practice yet, but a source tells McMenamin that the star forward is “progressing great” and should be back in the lineup soon.
  • Offseason additions Kent Bazemore and DeAndre Jordan appear to have fallen out of the Lakers’ rotation at least temporarily, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who notes that both players were DNP-CDs on Sunday. Jordan had started 10 games at center before sitting the last two, while Bazemore had started all 13 games for Los Angeles until he was benched on Sunday.
  • The changes to the starting five reflect the Lakers’ preference for smaller lineups for the time being, per Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register, who adds that Vogel left the door open for a return to bigger lineups as the season progresses. Anthony Davis started at center alongside power forward Carmelo Anthony on Sunday.
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