The Los Angeles Lakers finalized their trade of Michael Beasley and Ivica Zubac, sending the pair to the Clippers in exchange for Mike Muscala.
The trade between the Clippers and Lakers is the first since 1983. That deal saw Norm Nixon, Eddie Jordan and a future draft pick go to the Clippers in exchange for Byron Scott, Swen Nater and a draft pick.
While Zubac figures to slot in at starting center for the Clippers, Beasley is expected to be waived.
He was among the veterans to sign a one-year contract with the Lakers last summer but failed to gain any traction or establish a role. Some of that was related to Beasley taking multiple stretches away from the team to be with his ailing mother who passed away last December.
He averaged 7.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.7 minutes while appearing in 26 games (two starts) with the Lakers. Beasley’s tenure comes to an end on the heels of a reported heated confrontation in the locker room with head coach Luke Walton.
Beasley downplayed the explosive details that emerged from the conflict, much like JaVale McGee. Lance Stephenson refuted reports of being involved all together.
Zubac had served as the Lakers’ starting center the past six games after an impressive stretch of filling in for McGee off the bench. Overall, he’s averaging 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, both of which are career highs.
Zubac’s play was reminiscent of flashes seen during his rookie season. The 12 starts this season already are a career high for Zubac, surpassing the 11 he made after being taken by Lakers with the 32nd overall pick (second round) in the 2016 Draft.
Muscala gives the Lakers another shooting threat, joining Reggie Bullock as their second such acquisition that came before the trade deadline. Muscala was in his first season with the Philadelphia 76ers and didn’t log a single minute for the Clippers after being acquired in the Tobias Harris trade.
With an open roster spot, the Lakers expected to evaluate Carmelo Anthony and other options who are due to reach the buyout market in the coming days.
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