The Los Angeles Lakers dealt with more than their fair share of injuries last season, causing them to go deep into their roster to fill out their lineup. For example, multiple injuries to starting point guard Lonzo Ball caused Tyler Ennis, Alex Caruso, Gary Payton II, and even Brandon Ingram to fill in running the show.
While Ingram was excellent as expected, it was noteworthy that Caruso appeared to out-play Ennis as the season went on. After an impressive 2017 Summer League performance in Las Vegas, the Lakers signed Caruso to a two-way contract, which was a new type of contract that debuted last season.
Two-way deals allow a player to move freely between an NBA team and their G League affiliate, with the benefit to the player being that they earn more than a standard G League salary, coupled with experienced gained when they are up with the parent club.
Caruso proved himself to be a valuable asset off the bench for the Lakers with his slick passing and ability to run the offense. When Caruso first signed his deal it was believed to only be for one year, but Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report revealed that Caruso’s deal actually lasts for two years:
BTW – I'm told Alex Caruso's original deal with the Lakers is a two year 2-way, not 1-year – was initially sourced to me as a 1-yr
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 12, 2018
While this isn’t a major development for the Lakers, having Caruso in their back pocket for another season as an emergency point guard isn’t a bad thing.
Two-way deals exist in addition to the regular 15-man roster, so keeping Caruso around won’t prevent the Lakers from adding other players.
There is a restriction that prohibits teams from calling up two-way players for more than 45 days during the G League season, a limitation that actually impacted the injury-riddled Lakers last season.
If Caruso plays well enough in Summer League and preseason to warrant a full-time roster slot the Lakers will have to sign him to a new deal, though it’s currently unclear if they are prepared to make him their permanent backup point guard.
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