The Clippers are expecting Ivica Zubac to take another step forward offensively next season, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. Los Angeles owns a $7.5MM team option in Zubac’s contract for 2022/23, which requires a decision to be made by June 29.
“You have to give a lot of credit to Zu and Isaiah (Hartenstein),” president Lawrence Frank said. “Sometimes we take it for granted because Zu … at his age, to have the experience to anchor a top defense, and you look at his rim protection, rebounding. But I think offensively, he’ll make another jump.”
Zubac, 24, averaged 10.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 24.4 minutes per game this season, starting in all 76 of his contests. He’ll also be eligible to sign a four-year extension worth up to about $61MM with the Clippers this summer, Swanson notes.
Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:
- Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic explores whether the real Deandre Ayton has showed up against the Pelicans this series. Ayton has seen plenty of highs and lows through three games. He most recently finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds in the Suns’ Game 3 victory on Friday. Game 4 is currently in progress.
- In a separate story for the Arizona Republic, Somers examines a simple-but-effective winning formula: Let Chris Paul take over down the stretch. Paul scored 19 points in the fourth quarter of Game 3, helping seal the 114-111 victory for the Suns.
- Timberwolves guard Jordan McLaughlin rewarded himself and the team by staying prepared ahead of Game 4, Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune writes. McLaughlin has seen inconsistent playing time this season, but he made the most of his opportunity on Saturday. The 26-year-old scored 16 points (4-of-4 from deep) in 14 minutes off the bench. “It’s always what he does,” teammate Karl-Anthony Towns said of McLaughlin. “Consummate professional. Every day he steps on the court he makes an impact. It’s normal, it’s routine. We need someone like him, someone who comes off the bench and dominates the game.”