Lakers Rumors: Zubac, LeBron, Butler, PG13, Randle

The Lakers‘ decision to trade Ivica Zubac to the Clippers in a deal for Mike Muscala was one of the more questionable deadline moves last month. To make matter worse, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com writes that the Lakers actually instigated those trade discussions.

Sources tell McMenamin that the Clippers never inquired on Zubac, and that it was the Lakers who made the offer, which the Clips “gladly accepted.” Veteran Clippers executive Jerry West “couldn’t believe how Zubac fell into his lap,” McMenamin writes.

The Lakers had hoped the roster spot they opened up in that swap – which also included Michael Beasley – would clear the way for the team to sign a player like Wayne Ellington, DeAndre Jordan, or Enes Kanter on the buyout market, per McMenamin. However, those players either chose other teams or never became available.

McMenamin’s latest article for ESPN digs into the Lakers’ disappointing season in detail, and includes several more noteworthy tidbits. Here are the highlights from the piece:

  • One team source tells McMenamin that they felt as if LeBron James didn’t fully engage with his younger teammates prior to the trade deadline.
  • Rajon Rondo organized a players-only meeting about a month ago in the hopes that the team would find “a better understanding of one another,” a source tells McMenamin. Players spoke up about LeBron’s “inconsistent body language,” and James took the criticism to heart, making an effort to improve on that going forward. Of course, the meeting hasn’t led to improved on-court results. “Just because [the meeting] was positive doesn’t mean we’re going to win 25 games in a row,” a team source told McMenamin.
  • Anthony Davis‘ name didn’t come up last summer when James met with Magic Johnson on the eve of free agency and discussed future plans. However, it has been clear all year that the Lakers intend to pair LeBron with a second maximum-salary free agent. L.A. was one of several teams to inquire on Jimmy Butler before he was sent to Philadelphia last fall, McMenamin reports.
  • Paul George‘s decision to stay in Oklahoma City last offseason was more about what the Thunder did right than what the Lakers did wrong, sources tell McMenamin. Still, it’s worth noting that George was somewhat familiar with how the Lakers ran things, having spoken to his agent Aaron Mintz and former teammate Corey Brewer about their experiences with the organization.
  • Mintz represents Julius Randle, who never received an offer from the Lakers as a restricted free agency last July, per McMenamin. Randle ultimately signed with the Pelicans because he felt like they really wanted him, which wasn’t a feeling he got from the Lakers, despite the fact that head coach Luke Walton and his staff hoped he’d be back, McMenamin writes.
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22 thoughts on “Lakers Rumors: Zubac, LeBron, Butler, PG13, Randle

  1. goldenmisfit

    So Paul George took the word of a former player who played under the old regime rather than just sit down and talk to Magic Johnson? LOL!

  2. Guest617

    ever read an article that lebron could be a difficult teammate? i haven’t – makes one wonder why other players haven’t chased a ring to cavs or lakers

    • fishy 9 dogs

      Wait? Was that sarcasm? Or you actually haven’t read an article about Lebron being a difficult teammate to have? Because I can think of several off the top of my head.

  3. kenleyfornia2

    Hey Magic you dont have to give away Zubac for free to open a roster spot. Its called buyout Beasley. Its insane how bad Magic has been at building this roster.

    • D$!LLKU$H-og

      I was thinking they should’ve done what the Celtics did to get rid of Jabari Bird. They shipped him to Atlanta with 1.6MM in cash considerations and Atlanta even sent a 2nd round pick back! (Highly protected 31-55 in 2020 but still!) SAC, ATL and IND all had space to take on the 2MM for Beasley for 2MM in cash considerations and if Lakers needed to include a protected 2nd. He’ll get a bag this summer.

  4. Not getting PG13 for the Lakers wasn’t a bad thing, really. Butler would be more interesting than him anyway.
    But letting go of JR & Zubac for nothing, that really hurts. I always thought Zubac was a player, JR this year has been simply outstanding, what a great season, even improving his shooting, he has become a building block in any team that’s for sure!

      • The Lakers didn’t get PG and he never seems inclined to listen. But they could hve kept Randle easily but Magic screwed that. Same with trading Russell and taking Ball. Ball will never live up the hype of his draft status. Plus the guy cant stay healthy. Lakers NEED to move him this summer to salvage what little bit of they can since there is still some interest in him around the league.

        • Codeeg

          That’s a reactionary solution. Dude is coming off an injury. Trade him after a month of games if you want better value. Not when it’s diminished and he still has upside at 21.

      • Of course I do!!! But the point is that PG13 & Kawhi are SF’s so unless they come from the bench they are no use to the Lakers. Butler is a SG, so he is way better fitted, JR is a PF (better than Kuz, so far) so he can fit too. Is not about brandishing big names, they got to fit dude. Lakers basically need a SG & a C. That is what they need, so Butler, Klay, Vucevic, DMC… this is the type of FA’s they need to target, not PG13, Kawhi, KD…

        • whodatcoon

          The NBA is basically position less these days. Take the best talent available, make it work. Butler has a terrible attitude, I wouldn’t want Butler or Kyrie on max deals if it were my team.

  5. DynamiteAdams

    Lakers are looking worse all the time. Remember when everyone thought this team was a lock for the playoffs lol

  6. OCTraveler

    Waiting for someone to blame the Zubac trade on Walton – just like people do for the injuries, LeBron’s inconsistency and everything else.

    • Man are you the Luke Walton burner account or what? All this things weren’t his fault but still he sucks & stinks the place out, so you can take him back to the GSW because he is no use as a HC, as simple as!

      • kenleyfornia2

        No he does not suck. He actually stands up against the BS that guys like Beasley try to pull. He is a fine coach and the problems with this team are on Magic and Pelinka.

  7. Z-A

    If the Lakers had traded for Jimmy it would also have made sense to grab Taj and Teague at the same time. Surrounding Bron with vets.

  8. x%sure

    “Players spoke up about LeBron’s “inconsistent body language,” and James took the criticism to heart, making an effort to improve on that going forward.”

    If James was wondering what to work on for a long five months before next season… Well he’s gotta consistentize that body language.
    Take Yoga, it’s El-lay man. Get those chakras sorted. Face the dog down.

    I did not start out serious but actually it might be a good idea. I’m thinking, he should have done it last offseason, after that punishing 17/18.
    There is no history of yoga being good for bb players in-season… Loosening muscles is not good for explosion… but whatever’s good for the groin muscle.

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