The Lakers made a few moves during the trade deadline, one of them was to ship out third-year center Ivica Zubac to the LA Clippers in exchange for Mike Muscala.
Prior to the end of his Lakers tenure, Zubac was experiencing the best play of his young career while adding a sense of stability to the center position. This was an area that was reeling following JaVale McGee’s return from pneumonia and Tyson Chandler proving that his renewed health and effectiveness was just a mirage, but Zubac was thriving and the Lakers dealt him…to the team they were chasing for a playoff spot at the time.
There’s no way this could get worse, right?
Well, apparently there is. According to ESPN’s Dave Mcmenamin, the Clippers didn’t even initiate trade talks for the 22-year-old.
Shortly after the trade deadline, Clippers consultant Jerry West — who spent more than 40 years with the Lakers as a player, coach and executive — got together for dinner with old friends who also had former Laker ties, sources said. He couldn’t believe how Zubac fell into his lap. The Clippers, sources said, never even called the Lakers to inquire about Zubac. The Lakers made the offer and the Clippers gladly accepted.
In his 33 games with the Lakers, Zubac averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 58 percent from the field in just over 15 minutes per game. However, in the games where he got more minutes, he was a force the Lakers could rely on in the middle both offensively and defensively.
So, to recap, the Lakers not only traded a promising young player who had a minimal cap hit so they could get rid of Michael Beasley (who could’ve just been released) in return for a player in Muscala who has made little impact on the team, but they did so without the Clippers even asking for him.
This is just another feather in the cap of the Lakers front office that is filled with poor asset management and personnel decisions.