When the Los Angeles Lakers chose to trade Ivica Zubac prior to the trade deadline, it was somewhat head-scratching. But to make matters even worse, the Lakers sent him to the rival Los Angeles Clippers in a deal that didn’t seem to make a ton of sense at the time. The deal featured Zubac heading to the Clippers along with Michael Beasley, and the Lakers receiving Mike Muscala in exchange.
But something that stood out after the deal involved comments made by Los Angeles Times reporter Brad Turner. The Lakers analyst spoke on the FnA podcast on iHeart Radio and revealed some interesting info on the trade involving JaVale McGee.
According to Turner, there were some issues with McGee and his role after Zubac began receiving extended minutes and even starting. In turn, that was a part of the reason for the deal.
“… the Lakers knew going forward, if they’re going to keep all of this salary cap space, then we can’t afford to keep Zubac. They wanted him around, but they couldn’t afford to keep him on the team this summer. And they also knew, a small thing was, JaVale McGee started feeling some kind of way about not playing as much. About not starting, so now the feelings get involved.” Turner stated.
But what happened after the trade, just prior to the teams meeting on Monday, pointed to Zubac apparently showing some feelings on the situation himself.
Ivica Zubac Throws Some Shade at Lakers
As Bleacher Report revealed, the 21-year-old center seems to be pretty happy with how things are going with the Clippers. After they knocked off the New York Knicks 128-107, Zubac spoke about the differences between playing for the two teams.
“That’s how we gotta be. When I was with the Lakers, we didn’t have nights like this. Every game was a close game for us, but now with the Clippers, this team is really locked in, every possession against every team.”
While Zubac has seen his minutes ramped up over time with his new team, he’s posted averages of 8.6 points and 7.7 rebounds over his first nine games. Over the past two games, he tallied double-digit rebounds in both matchups and the Clippers have gone 6-3 since the deal which brought the big man to town.
Diving Deeper Into Lakers’ Trade of Ivica Zubac
During his session on the FnA podcast, Turner spoke about a number of things but also pointed out some additional information on the trade. Along with the situation involving McGee, it seems that the Lakers wanted to move Michael Beasley. Turner stated that the “biggest key out of them all” was that the team “wanted Michael Beasley gone.” This was partially due to the situation which involved he and Luke Walton reportedly getting into a heated exchange earlier in the year.
For good measure, it was also revealed that the Lakers front office knew they wouldn’t be able to afford to bring Zubac back in the offseason, as he’ll be a free agent after the year. Magic Johnson and company are planning on going after Anthony Davis again it seems, and that won’t leave much in terms of cap space.