While the heavily-rumored Anthony Davis trade never came to fruition at the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers did make a couple of moves including sending Michael Beasley and Ivica Zubac to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Mike Muscala.
To put it mildly, Lakers fans were not pleased with the move that sent the fan favorite Zubac — arguably the best center on the roster — to their crosstown rivals.
While neither Zubac nor Muscala are going to move the needle all that much, the perception around the league was that the Lakers got fleeced by the Clippers. With both Los Angeles teams competing for free agents in July, it’s not a good look to see the Clippers pull one over on them.
Muscala’s early shooting and injury woes didn’t help, but he ultimately ended the season shooting 36.8% from the three-point line as a Laker, which is right in line with his career average.
While swapping the younger, cheaper, and more talented Zubac for Muscala is a poor move in terms of value, targeting a center who can stretch the floor is a worthwhile pursuit. He isn’t an impact player, but Muscala can play a role, scoring 16 points with four threes in each of the final two games of the 2018-19 NBA season.
Highlight Of The 2018-19 Lakers Season
The highlights may have been few and far between but plays like this — featuring both rim protection and shooting — are the reason why Muscala is still a solid role player in the NBA.
The Lakers recognized their error in not adding shooting last summer and attempted to rectify that at the trade deadline by adding Muscala and Reggie Bullock, though it cost them two fan-favorite young players in Zubac and Svi Mykhailiuk. Muscala will hit free agency this summer and there is no guarantee that he will be back with the Lakers.
They will have other priorities as they attempt to land a second All-Star player in free agency and if Muscala wants something comparable to the $5 million he made last season, the Lakers may not have the room to keep him around.
That said, if the market is unkind to him, Muscala could take a cheap, one-year deal to stay with the Lakers and then test the market again next summer. He won’t make or break their season, but the Lakers will need all the shooting they can get next season.