Alex Caruso toiled for three years in the G League before earning an NBA contract this season. He has seen teammates shuffle in and out of rosters through call ups, 10-day contracts, trades, and simple attrition, so more than anyone, Caruso appreciated the camaraderie that came from being on a stable NBA roster this year.
It certainly helped that the 2019-20 Lakers had an undeniable chemistry magnified by the team’s success; in effect, the Lakers have become Caruso’s surrogate family. That has made it all the more difficult for Caruso and his teammates to be apart from one another during the coronavirus suspension.
In an interview with Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times, Caruso detailed what he misses about being around the team.
“It’s been so hard being away from everyone because we had so much fun playing together and we were really starting to find our groove before the season stopped,” Caruso said. “To be able to have a group of guys like we do that clicked so easily and just enjoy being around each other was special.
“We have a group text that we started even before the season and that’s still going on right now. Even though we’re not seeing each other face to face we’re sending each other funny videos and we’re chopping it up and catching up and seeing how everyone is doing.”
Kyle Kuzma noted a few weeks ago that the group text has been consistently entertaining, even during the stoppage, with a “revolving door” of players going crazy in the chat. His and Caruso’s comments only serve to confirm our inclinations that this team was more close-knit than most, and that the bond they displayed in public was really indicative of how much they enjoyed one another’s company.
For a player like Caruso, whose actual family is in Texas while he shelters in place in Southern California, it must be especially isolating to be away from the team at this time. The group chat serves as placeholder for getting together, but it obviously can’t replicate what the Lakers had both on and off the court this season.
Fortunately, the Lakers are still taking their social distancing guidelines seriously, unlike some other athletes, and finding other ways to connect. If the season ever resumes, hopefully their bond will be as strong as ever.
All quotes transcribed via Spectrum SportsNet. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @sabreenajm.