When the decision was made by the Los Angeles Lakers to trade Ivica Zubac, it brought question marks but made sense in the grand scheme. After all, the Lakers are looking to fork over big money to a top-tier free agent (or acquire a star via trade) this coming offseason. This meant Zubac was highly unlikely to be re-signed and was all but a lock to have a new home after the year.
So although the young center had been arguably the best big man on the roster over the past month or so, the Lakers traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers. But that deal, which brought Mike Muscala back in return, may have been more about the other player included with Zubac – Michael Beasley.
On the recent FnA podcast on iHeart Radio, Los Angeles Times reporter Brad Turner spoke about the trade and revealed a big part of the deal was moving Beasley. Turner stated the Lakers “wanted Beasley gone.”
“You have to understand the whole scenario with the Lakers and what they were thinking. For the Clippers, it was a great move, without a doubt. The Lakers kept thinking to themselves – we won’t be able to afford Zubac this summer, that can’t happen. And the biggest key out of them all is that they wanted Michael Beasley gone. He had to be moved on, some of it was because of the interaction that he had with Luke Walton at the Golden State game where he spoke out about what was going on and guys being selfish, he felt singled out.” Turner stated.
He proceeded to point out that the team couldn’t afford to keep Zubac since they wanted to maximize their salary cap space. It’s eye-opening to hear, but not overly surprising after the reports that came out following that game against the Golden State Warriors.
Situation With Luke Walton, Michael Beasley
The reports on what actually happened have varied quite a bit since the incident that came back in early February. The Athletic’s Shams Charania pointed out Beasley in the initial report, which stemmed from Lakers coach Luke Walton speaking about players being unselfish on the court.
While it does seem that something happened, it’s unknown how severe the situation actually was. Regardless, the fit with Beasley and the Lakers apparently didn’t work out, and shortly after he was dealt the Clippers, he was then waived. The 30-year-old has yet to be signed, but it would be surprising if he doesn’t find a new home at some point in the near future.
Additional Rumors About Ivica Zubac Trade
On the same FnA podcast, Turner also addressed the topic of JaVale McGee, stating that he “started feeling some kind of way about not playing as much.” Obviously, this could have impacted the situation as well, and Zubac was likely a far more appealing trade target, even if the Lakers didn’t get a ton back for him.
McGee is only on a one-year deal also, and the 31-year-old flashed impressive upside early in the year. During the month of October (eight games), he posted averages of 27.1 minutes, 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.3 blocks. The Lakers may need to see McGee return to that form to help bolster their front line as they make a push for the playoffs.