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Report: LA brings back Ivica Zubac on four-year deal

Ivica Zubac

Ivica Zubac has agreed to a four-year, $28 million to stay with the LA Clippers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Zubac was acquired by the Clippers from the Los Angeles Lakers at last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Mike Muscala. In 26 games with LA, all but one of which he started, Zubac averaged 9.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

Zubac’s acquisition by the Clippers is broadly considered the steal of the trade deadline considering both his current ability and long-term potential as well as Muscala’s general ineffectiveness, despite his theoretical use as a floor-spacing big man. Doc Rivers, for his part, couldn’t believe a player of the 22-year-old’s caliber was available for such a low price, and publicly sang Zubac’s praises thereafter, too, especially defensively. He still found his way into Rivers’ dog house over the latter portion of the regular season and especially in the first round of the playoffs, but frustration gleaned from his struggles was more due to youthful inexperience and exuberance than anything else, issues that should subside in time.

Clearly, LA believes Zubac is the rare center in the modern-day NBA who has the two-way capabilities to carve out a niche for a perennial championship contender. Montrezl Harrell is still likely to get more playing time than Zubac and close most games, but by bringing in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers have thrust themselves into legitimate contention for the foreseeable future. And just a few months removed from being traded for a journeyman, Zubac is poised to play a lasting role in that reality.