Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso was arrested in Texas and charged with marijuana possession on Tuesday.
A mug shot of Caruso from Brazos County, Texas, dated June 22 quickly made the rounds on social media. Court records show the 27-year-old was arrested by Texas A&M University Police and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported that “Lieutenant Bobby Richardson of the Texas A&M Police Department told ESPN that around 2 p.m. local time, Caruso tried to board a flight, where TSA agents searched Caruso’s bags and found a herb grinder that contained marijuana.”
Caruso‘s hometown is College Station, Texas, and he played college basketball at Texas A&M. He spent four years with the Aggies, finishing his career as the school’s all-time leader in assists (649) and steals (276).
Unlike California, marijuana is illegal in Texas for recreational use. Court records indicate he was released on bonds totaling $4,200 for the Class B misdemeanor of possession of marijuana and the Class C misdemeanor of possession of drug paraphernalia. He paid a $500 fine for the Class C misdemeanor, according to court records.
Caruso on Verge of Payday as Free Agent
Caruso is a pending unrestricted free agent, likely due for a big payday after making his mark with the Lakers. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported Caruso could be due to land an annual salary of around $12 million annually as a free agent. Spotrac estimates that Caruso has made around $5.4 million in his three-year NBA career so far.
Caruso became a key piece for the Lakers over the last two seasons, providing stellar defense off the bench. He averaged 6.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists last season in 21 minutes per game, garnering NBA All-Defensive team votes with the Lakers finishing with the league’s top-ranked defense.
The Lakers hope to retain Caruso, although they’ll have to compete with other bidders. However, the incentive of being a title contender with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the way is enticing for Caruso and so are the perks that come with wearing purple and gold.
“Anytime you play with those two, you have a realistic chance to win a championship. I know a lot of people around the league think they do,” Caruso said. “But it’s a realistic, attainable goal with those two guys on your team, so that’s always in the back of your mind.”
He continued: “I understand different things happen in L.A. for certain reasons. I’m forever grateful for that, and we’ll see where everything lies.”
Caruso is a Fan-Favorite in Los Angeles
The arrest will likely only add to the legend of Caruso, who quickly established himself as a fan favorite due to his gritty play, big dunks and unassuming look.
Caruso did say last year that his fame reached a point that the attention he was getting was “borderline annoying.”
“It did get to a point to where I was just sitting back and literally anything I did, somebody would tweet about it, or somebody was reporting on it,” Caruso said. “And at a certain point I was just like, ‘this is just like borderline annoying.’ It was to the point where it’s like, let’s just focus on basketball, and we’re having so much success on the court that I would love for it to be more about that than me doing a random play in a game.”
With a big decision ahead, we’ll see where the “Bald Mamba” lands next season.