The Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer expected to pursue free-agent guards Alex Caruso or T.J. McConnell after acquiring Ricky Rubio ahead of the 2021 NBA draft.
Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported both players were on Cleveland's radar before adding Rubio, who will serve as the backup to Darius Garland next season.
It would be a major surprise if the Lakers were outbid for Caruso given their massive depth issues following the acquisition of Russell Westbrook. Caruso has proved himself to be a quality rotation piece the last two seasons, and the Lakers can use their Bird rights to entice the 27-year-old into returning.
Provided Lakers management is not worried about a luxury tax bill, Caruso should be back in Los Angeles next season regardless of the outside pursuit.
McConnell will see significant interest across the NBA as teams seek out a quality backup point guard who won't break the bank. He averaged a career-high 8.6 points and 6.6 assists last season with the Indiana Pacers. While he never developed a consistent three-point shot, McConnell finishes at the rim way better than expected for someone with his lack of explosive athleticism and could command a full mid-level exception on the open market.
The Cavs will likely focus on shoring up their wing and re-signing Jarrett Allen in free agency.