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Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso could be in demand as a free agent this offseason with the Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly among the teams targeting him, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
Fedor noted Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell is also on the Cavaliers’ free-agent target list as they seek another backcourt playmaker.
Caruso averaged 6.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 21 minutes per game this year, mostly off the bench for Los Angeles.
Despite modest numbers, Caruso has proved to be an impact player on both ends of the court. He averaged 1.1 steals per game in 2020-21 while remaining a hard-nosed defender, also contributing offensively with a 40.1 three-point percentage.
The Lakers were plus-4.7 points per 100 possessions with Caruso on the court this season, per Basketball Reference. This ranked third on the team among players with at least 100 minutes behind only LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Caruso’s defensive box plus-minus trailed only Marc Gasol.
This effort would be a big addition for a Cavaliers squad that ranked 25th in the NBA in defensive efficiency in 2020-21. The outside shooting would also help after the team ranked dead last in three-point percentage and 29th in made three-pointers.
Cleveland does have a pair of exciting young guards in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, but Caruso can provide much-needed depth without requiring a high-usage rate. He can also create for others, allowing Sexton and Garland to move off the ball for stretches of a game.
Caruso did indicate he was open to re-signing with Los Angeles, saying in June: “Hopefully we can return and continue our great partnership but that’s obviously for a later date.”
The problem could be the salary cap with Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker among those also preparing for raises as free agents this offseason. It could allow Caruso to find a new home with the Cavaliers seemingly ready with open arms.