Alex Caruso joined Bulls after Lakers' lowball contract offer

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Caruso joined Bulls after Lakers' low contract offer originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Alex Caruso's blink said it all.

Asked by host JJ Redick on Redick's popular "The Old Man & The Three" podcast to blink once if his guess for the Lakers' initial offer to retain him in free agency was too high, and to blink twice if it was too low, the Chicago Bulls guard blinked once when Redick guessed two years for $15 million.

Caruso eventually signed with the Bulls for four years and $37 million, though the final season only carries a $3 million guarantee unless the Bulls opt to keep him for the full value of $9.9 million in 2024-25.

Either way, Caruso's departure roiled a Lakers fan base who appreciated the feisty guard's defensive presence, athleticism and headband-on-shaved-head look. That LeBron James consistently praised Caruso made the exit even more painful for the Laker faithful.

During his Zoom introductory media session with Chicago-based reporters in August, Caruso also fielded a question about how surprised he was that the Lakers didn't move more aggressively to retain him.

"I have a great relationship with the Laker community just because my path and progression as a player is something they got to witness first-hand. I'll always have a special relationship with that fan base. I know a lot of people were upset that I didn't get to stick around and try and run it back for a couple more years," Caruso said then. "As far as the front office and free agency, that stuff just kind of happens. It's the business of basketball. You can't always keep who you want or else there'd be a whole bunch of good teams with a whole bunch of good players and nobody else would win. I'm happy that I fell to Chicago."

So are the Bulls. Caruso enters Wednesday's matchup with the Mavericks ranked third in the NBA in steals and fourth in deflections. He is closing games regularly for the Bulls, who possess the league's fourth-ranked defense and a 7-3 record.

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