Last summer, the Los Angeles Lakers built their roster with season veterans, many of whom had some experience playing with each other on different teams.
For example, Quinn Cook and Danny Green briefly played with James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cook and JaVale McGee played were teammates on the Golden State Warriors, and Rajon Rondo was teammates with Avery Bradley and Anthony Davis prior to this season. That’s not to mention the relationships they built off the court, or through international basketball.
Suffice to say, they were all pretty familiar each other — well, almost all of them. There was also Alex Caruso.
Caruso and James were technically on the same team last season, but Caruso was on a two-way contract and only played 147 total minutes with James. It wasn’t until this season that Caruso and James spent real time together, both on and off the court, and they’ve gotten along well in both respects, according to Caruso.
In an interview with Zach Lowe on an episode of “The Lowe Post,” Caruso talked about his relationship with James, and how it’s evolved this season:
“People talk about our plus-minus, and connection on the court, and over the last year or so our relationship has gotten good to where I can ask him anything, and he trusts that I’m going to be able to do whatever it is that needs to be done. I think that’s the biggest thing with ‘Bron, is just earning his trust so he knows what he’s going to get out of you and he can count on that.
“Because at the end of the day, every game LeBron plays in the NBA, every game, every season is for one goal and it’s to win a championship. He’s not out there for any other reason, and for me, I’m trying to win every game I play, and at the end of the day, if that ends up being the championship, then that’s what it’s going to be, and I think he appreciates that ... Just being able to get a relationship with him has really helped me find my way and understand what it is I need to do.”
Caruso isn’t a rookie — he’s technically been an NBA player since the 2017-18 season — but this is the first time Caruso’s been in the NBA full-time, and because of that, he’s starting to benefit from the wealth of knowledge that veteran players like James, Rajon Rondo and Anthony Davis have. He’s also building relationships he wouldn’t have otherwise built, and those relationships could benefit him in both the short and long-term.
We can only hope the relationship Caruso’s built with James will be enough for Caruso to have a spot on the roster next season and beyond. Can you imagine Caruso on another team?
I’m getting emotional just thinking about it.