For the first time since the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline, Ivica Zubac played against the Los Angeles Lakers as a member of the L.A. Clippers.
Originally the former No. 32 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Zubac was traded along with Michael Beasley to the Clippers for Mike Muscala.
While the 21-year-old only recorded seven points and four rebounds in 14 minutes, he admitted it was ‘weird’ playing against his former team for the first time.
“It was so weird trying to go against the guys I was playing with a few weeks ago. But my goal was to win the game,” Zubac explained after the Clippers’ 113-105 win.
“We were focused, we played hard and we came up with a win. It was almost like every other game for me. Just against guys I knew really well.”
As it was at the time and still is a surprising trade, Zubac credited Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and the coaching staff for helping him with the transition.
“It was super easy,” Zubac said. “They accepted me from Day 1, they helped me out with a lot of new stuff to understand it better. It’s been pretty easy for me.”
With the Clippers having a 97.2 percent chance of making the playoffs now, Zubac is excited about a potential first appearance. “There’s still a lot of games left. Everything is possible, but I think the way we’re playing, we’re going to get in. I can’t wait. It’s going to be an amazing experience,” he said.
With Lakers fans showing their appreciation for Zubac during starting lineup introductions, the feeling is mutual.
“I appreciate the Laker fans. I will always appreciate them,” Zubac said. “They supported me throughout three years. I will always have love for the Laker fans.”
As the third-year center still believes he could have been a difference-maker for the Lakers, he did not want to comment on their situation since the trade.
“I don’t know. I’m not sure what’s happening in their locker room. I don’t know what to tell you,” Zubac explained. “If I say something, everyone is going to twist my words, so I don’t even know how to answer that question.”
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