It’s a big summer for the Los Angeles Lakers with plenty of decisions to make, and among those were with players already on the roster. It appears that they’ve come to a decision on the future of center Ivica Zubac.
He had a team option in his contract that would pay him just over $1.5 million to return for his third season in Los Angeles. While that’s not a hefty contract by NBA standards, the Lakers also have a lot of summer shopping to do on the free agent market and every dollar counts.
It is important to note, however, the waiving Zubac would not actually free up $1.5 million in cap space since the league has an empty roster slot charge of $815,615 which counts for any open spot on teams with less than 12 signed players.
As a result, waiving Zubac would actually only free up about $700,000 in salary cap room.
After careful deliberation, the Lakers ultimately decided to guarantee Zubac’s contract, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Lakers are planning to guarantee center Ivica Zubac's contract for the 2018-19 season, league sources tell Yahoo. Zubac had contract guarantee date today.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 30, 2018
Zubac had a promising rookie season with the Lakers after being selected with the 32nd pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. The Croatian big man showed a soft touch at the rim and a good feel for the game. He has a penchant for blocking shots, earning him the nickname “Zublocka.”
However, his sophomore campaign was disappointing. Zubac had expected to compete with Timofey Mozgov for the starting center spot only to find Mozgov shipped out and former All-Star Brook Lopez in his place.
Julius Randle soaked up most of the backup center minutes, leaving little room for Zubac, who struggled to keep up with the lightning-fast pace the Lakers played at last season.
While the Lakers appear to have retained Zubac, at least for now, Thomas Bryant was waived on Saturday.
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