Alex Caruso has certainly come a long way from being just an undrafted guard out of Texas A&M in 2016. Four years later and Caruso is not only a rotation player for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he can now also call himself an NBA champion. After losing Game 5 of the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat, the Lakers chose to start Caruso over center Dwight Howard in Game 6, and the 26-year-old’s defense was key in a 106-93 win over the Heat to secure title No. 17 for the franchise.
The Lakers certainly aren’t the first team that comes to mind when thinking about underdogs, but Caruso’s journey from being an undrafted guard to a starter in the NBA Finals is nothing short of an underdog story worthy of Hollywood. After spending a couple of seasons playing for both the Lakers and their affiliate team in the G League, the South Bay Lakers, the Texas native was signed to a two-year, $5.5 million contract in the 2019 offseason. This means that Caruso earned $2,750,000 last season and will earn the same amount in his fourth season with the club.
Alex Caruso’s net worth in 2020 (estimate): $2 million
Caruso’s current net worth is reportedly at $2 million, which just shows how far his NBA journey has come. After not hearing his name called on draft night in 2016, Caruso joined the Philadelphia 76ers for Summer League. In September, he was signed by the Oklahoma City Thunder but later waived, instead joining their team in the then-called D-League. At the time, the salaries of D-League players ranged from $50,000 up to $75,000, which increased due to the NBA signing a new collective bargaining agreement that season.
Caruso, who at the time hadn’t played in the NBA yet, was likely earning a similar amount. But this was only the first step in the former Aggies point guard’s journey. His first break came the following summer, when he joined the Lakers’ Summer League team. Together with the team’s 2017 draft picks in Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Ivica Zubac, Caruso helped the Lakers win the Las Vegas Summer League title, endearing himself to legions of Lakers fans and establishing himself as a player who deserved to get a shot in the NBA.
His strong performances that summer were enough for the Lakers to sign Caruso to a two-way contract, going directly from the G League to the NBA and becoming the first player to do so. But even though he was already signed by the Lakers, a two-way contract still meant that he would spend most of his time with the South Bay Lakers. A player signed to a two-way contract may only spend a maximum of 45 days on an NBA roster.
Hoops Rumors says that during the 2017-2018 season, when the Lakers first signed Caruso to a two-way contract, players in the G League earned an averaged of $75,000. The following season, a 3% increase bumped those salaries up to $77,250. However, since Caruso also joined the Lakers during those two seasons, he likely would have made roughly $204,000 each season if he was able to join the team for the maximum of 45 days. In 2018, after his first full season with Los Angeles, Caruso’s net worth was reportedly at $100,000.
The summer of 2018 was an important one for the Lakers, with LeBron James signing a four-year deal with the team. The front office brought Caruso back on another one-year, two-way contract. Caruso, who statistically ranks as the player with the highest net rating when playing alongside James, continued to play in the G League and the NBA. Even as their newly acquired star missed time due to injury and the Lakers’ playoff drought continued after finishing the season with a 37-45 record, Caruso’s playing time and productivity increased during his second full season as he continued to gain a cult following.
The Lakers then traded away most of their young players to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans last offseason. They then filled out their roster by signing veterans on cheap deals. Caruso, Kuzma, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope became their longest-tenured players, with Caruso having spent more time playing in the G League than for the Lakers. At the time, his net worth was reportedly at around $1 million. But during the past season, even as the losses mounted and it became apparent that the team would miss the playoffs for another year, it was clear that the 26-year-old guard was a good fit with James and his teammates.
The team finally signed Carusoa to a two-year, $5.5 million deal, making him just one of only a few players to secure a multi-year contract after previously playing on a two-way contract for the NBA and the G-League. The Texas A&M product rewarded management by averaging 5.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.1 steals in 64 games in the first year of his contract, helping the Lakers finish first in the Western Conference. In his first taste of action in the playoffs, Caruso played with the poise of a veteran, increasing those numbers to 6.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists in 21 playoff games as he proved to be a vital cog in the team’s run to the franchise’s 17th title.
Now a champion, Caruso will enter the second year of his contract and make $2.75 million yet again, which is a bargain considering his contributions on both ends for the Lakers. If he continues to improve like he has in his first three seasons for the team, it would not be surprising if the front office signs the point guard to another multi-year contract as the Lakers look to retain players who play well with James and Davis who can also be signed on team-friendly deals.
It’s fascinating to look at Alex Caruso’s net worth in recent years, because it underlines his rise from an undrafted player to a rotation player and a fan favorite to a key player on a championship-winning team.