LeBron James ‘Badly Wanted’ Lakers to Re-Sign Bulls Guard: Insider

Alex Caruso

Getty Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso defends LeBron James during a December 19 game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

As the Chicago Bulls await the return of guard Alex Caruso, they’re not the only team feeling the weight of his absence this season.

His former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, are likely hoping they’d offered more than (or at least just as much as) the four-year, $37-million deal he signed to play in the Windy City this past summer.

In the latest addition of his newsletter, insider Marc Stein made sure to note that LeBron James particularly was a strong advocate for the team re-signing Caruso:

..Yet one source did point out at least one counter on James’ behalf, noting that he was also one of the organization’s staunchest Alex Caruso fans and badly wanted the Lakers to re-sign the defensive-minded guard. The Lakers, despite all of their considerable revenue streams, refused to offer a contract on par with the four-year, $37 million deal Caruso landed from Chicago because of the luxury-tax implications.

In his 28 appearances with the Bulls this season, the fifth-year guard is averaging 8.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.9 steals per game.

And the Lakers, currently the ninth seed in the Western Conference, have the league’s 17th worst defense this season.

It’s always nice to have something that everybody wants.

But the Chicago Bulls will settle for having that something (someone) on the hardwood as soon as possible.

Alex Caruso

GettyAlex Caruso and LeBron James high five during Game Five of the 2020 Western Conference Finals.

Caruso Teases Bulls Return

As prep for a playoff run gets underway in the Windy City, with guard Alex Caruso well along in his recovery, and bracing for a return to the Chicago Bulls lineup.

The 28-year old is nursing a fractured right wrist he suffered in a controversial collision with Milwaukee Bucks guard Grayson Allen at the end of January.

But the 2020 NBA champ looks primed for a comeback, with video surfacing of the guard practicing without a brace, which he’d been rocking since his surgery:

Caruso followed that up with an Instagram post on Wednesday night, flashing a photo of him handling the ball during a practice on the Miami Heat‘s home floor:

Is he trying to tell fans something?

Head coach Billy Donovan’s latest update (via NBC Sports) on the guard wasn’t too optimistic, but progress is progress:

He’s gotta get his strength back. Like, he can’t really even pass with that (his right hand), he doesn’t feel comfortable shooting it. There’s not pain. It’s just stiff and it’s weak. That’s gonna take some time to build that up. I think once he gets to that point, then he’ll be certainly cleared for contact. My feeling is it will probably be a couple weeks of doing this, to be honest with you.

Alex Caruso’s return, as well as teammate Lonzo Ball’s, could dictate the team’s playoff success, or lack thereof.

But based on their current four-game slide alone, it’s going to take more than that if they’re to go on a deep postseason run.

Bulls Aren’t Stacking Up Against NBA’s Best

Despite the Chicago Bulls’ impressive 39-25 record, there’s a significant reason to doubt their playoff capabilities.

Against the currently seeded playoff teams, they’ve gone 6-16 this season, and have just two wins against teams with a .600 or better winning percentage.

In the last week, they’ve lost to three teams they could end up facing in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket; the Atlanta Hawks, the Miami Heat, and the Milwaukee Bucks.

They’ll take on the Philadelphia 76ers next, with hopes of breaking their undefeated 4-0 record with the newly acquired James Harden in the lineup.

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