Ivica Zubac reveals why he re-signed with Clippers
LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac had a few options in free agency, but chose to ink a swift three-year, $21 million deal with the team that traded for him before the deadline, paying back the faith they had in his potential when walking away with what was largely viewed as a flat-out steal as the clock wound down.
Zubac noted why he chose to return to the Clippers, rather than explore his other options on the market:
“It made the most sense for me,” he told Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “The Clippers, from the day they traded for me, said they want me here for a long time. I felt great during my time with the Clippers during these five, six months so far. It was just natural.
“I viewed them as my only option because the Clippers, from the first day of free agency, they made sure they made it clear they wanted me for a longer time. I agreed. Me and my agent (Jeff Schwartz and Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports), we talked and we knew that’s probably my best chance for minutes and everything else. So we were motivated to make a deal from Day 1 and the Clippers were the same. So it wasn’t that hard.
The Clippers secured the third-year big man and Michael Beasley by giving away Mike Muscala, who wound up having little impact for a Los Angeles Lakers team that struggled to sniff the playoffs after LeBron James’ injury — desperate to add shooting after infamously whiffing on their chance to acquire Anthony Davis at the deadline.
The Lakers never really showed much faith in Zubac, putting him up as the starter at times of need, but never as a full-fledged job. He averaged 9.4 points and 7.7 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game across the hall for the Clippers, who gave the Croatian international the opportunity he had long waited for.