Ivica Zubac

Contract Details: Porzingis, Kleber, Horford, Smailagic, More

In addition to having no injury protection, Kristaps Porzingis‘ five-year max contract with the Mavericks also features a fifth-year player option, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Elsewhere on the Mavericks’ front, Maxi Kleber‘s new four-year deal with the team has a total base value of $34MM, but only $25MM of that money is guaranteed, according to Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights, who tweets that the fourth year ($9MM) is fully non-guaranteed. The pact also features $475K annually in bonuses, Siegel notes.

Finally, Siegel reports (via Twitter) that Delon Wright‘s three-year contract with the Mavericks has a descending structure, starting at $9.47MM in year one before going down to $8.53MM by year three. The agreement includes a total of $3.15MM in unlikely bonuses in addition to its $27MM base value, per Siegel.

Here are a few more details on recently-signed NBA contracts:

  • Siegel and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links) provide the interesting details on the fourth year of Al Horford‘s contract with the Sixers. Currently, Horford’s $26.5MM salary for that season is only partially guaranteed for $14.5MM. However, that guarantee jumps to $19.5MM if Philadelphia makes the NBA Finals in 2020, 2021, or 2022. It would become fully guaranteed if the 76ers win a title in one of those seasons.
  • Alen Smailagic‘s rookie contract from the Warriors is a four-year, minimum-salary pact with the first two years guaranteed, reports Michael Scotto of The Athletic (via Twitter). Despite being over the tax line, Golden State technically has access to the full mid-level exception, which allowed the club to go up to four years for the No. 39 overall pick.
  • Ivica Zubac‘s four-year deal with the Clippers includes a team option in the final season, tweets Keith Smith of RealGM. As Siegel details (via Twitter), it has a total value of about $28.52MM.
  • According to Smith (Twitter link), the Bulls‘ three-year contract for Ryan Arcidiacono also has a team option for its final season.

Clippers Sign Ivica Zubac To Four-Year Deal

JULY 10: Zubac has signed his contract, per an official release from the Clippers.

JULY 6: The Clippers aren’t done making moves after agreeing to late-night deals to land Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Los Angeles has also struck a deal with restricted free agent Ivica Zubac, agreeing to re-sign the young center to a four-year, $28MM contract.

Zubac, 22, was dealt from the Lakers to the Clippers along with Michael Beasley in exchange for Mike Muscala in a midseason trade that was viewed as a coup for the Clips.

Appearing in 26 games the rest of the way for his new team, Zubac established himself as the Clippers’ starting center, averaging 9.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 1.5 APG in 20.2 minutes per contest.

Because he came into the league as a second-round pick and was on a minimum-salary contract last season, Zubac had a cap hold of less than $2MM as a restricted free agent. That allowed the Clippers to keep him under team control without having to renounce his rights to create the cap room necessary to sign Leonard.

Zubac will officially sign his new deal once L.A. has exhausted its cap space, since the team will be able to exceed the cap to lock him up.

Zubac will rejoin Montrezl Harrell in the frontcourt in 2019/20, as the two young big men appear set to play most of the minutes at center for the Clippers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Clippers Extend Qualifying Offers To Zubac, McGruder

The Clippers have extended a qualifying offer to center Ivica Zubac, making him a restricted free agent, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. They have also extended a QO to swingman Rodney McGruder, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets.

The Clippers declined forward Johnathan Motley‘s QO and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Motley was one of the team’s two-way players.

The move to make Zubac an RFA was a mere formality, as he impressed the Clippers after they acquired him from the Lakers at the trade deadline. His qualifying offer is $1,931,189 and the Clippers can now match any offer sheet for the young big man in free agency.

He averaged 9.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG and 1.5 APG in 20.2 MPG over 26 regular-season games after the deal, including 25 starts. The 7’1” Zubac, 22, saw reduced action in the postseason, averaging 9.8 MPG in four games during the first-round series against the Warriors.

Zubac, a 2016 second-round pick, was part of the February trade that sent veteran forward Mike Muscala to the Lakers.

McGruder’s QO is the same amount extended to Zubac. He was claimed by the Clippers in April after the Heat waived him for luxury-tax purposes. He did appear in any games with the Clippers and was ineligible for the postseason. He averaged 7.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 1.7 APG in 66 games with Miami last season, including 45 starts.

O’Connor’s Latest: Durant, Clippers, Kawhi, Gallinari

As we’ve mentioned multiple times throughout the 2018/19 NBA league year, there’s a widespread belief among people around the NBA that Kevin Durant will leave the Warriors for the Knicks in free agency. However, uncertainty about Durant’s future has increased in recent months, Kevin O’Connor writes in his latest article for The Ringer.

As O’Connor explains, Durant seems more likely to go to the Knicks if Kyrie Irving goes with him, and there’s no guarantee that Irving will leave the Celtics, given how well things have gone in Boston over the last several weeks. LeBron James‘ struggles during his first year as a Laker could also serve as a cautionary tale for Durant.

One front office executive who spoke to O’Connor suggests that everything should be considered on the table for Durant, since the Warriors forward has proven to be unpredictable in the past.

O’Connor’s piece, which focuses primarily on the Clippers, features a few more items of note, so let’s round them up…

  • The Clippers continue to be viewed as the more likely destination than the Lakers if Kawhi Leonard decides to return home to Southern California, though O’Connor writes that it would be “foolish” to rule out the Lakers.
  • The odds of both Durant and Leonard joining the Clippers are slim, but the team could theoretically make it happen based on its cap situation. As O’Connor details, if the Clippers trade Danilo Gallinari and renounce all their free agents except Ivica Zubac, they’d have more than enough room for two max contracts, and would be able to go over the cap to re-sign Zubac.
  • Of course, in that scenario, the Clippers wouldn’t be able to take money back for Gallinari, which would limit their potential trade partners. Still, O’Connor has spoken to front office executives who don’t think it’d be too challenging to find a deal for Gallinari, especially if the Clips are willing to attach a future pick. O’Connor cites the Nets, Mavericks, Hawks, Jazz, and Pacers as a few teams that might be fits for the veteran forward in that scenario.

Lakers Notes: Walton, Lue, Pelinka, Caruso

Luke Walton‘s fatal mistake with the Lakers was not insisting that everyone else defer to LeBron James, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Tyronn Lue, who won a title with LeBron in Cleveland and is considered among the top candidates to replace Walton in L.A., established a clear order when he took over for David Blatt in 2016. Lue demanded that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love set aside any individual agendas and let James run the show.

Walton never made similar demands after LeBron came to the Lakers, according to Vardon. He was fine with several players serving as the primary ball-handler and didn’t adjust the offense much to feature his new weapon.

“We had our system coming into training camp, and it was similar to the last few years,” former Lakers center Ivica Zubac said after being traded in February. “We all knew LeBron was the guy, but no, that’s not how it was. Luke wants to play fast and he said it right after camp started. I think we played the right way until LeBron got hurt, and then we just didn’t have enough to win.”

There’s more news from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers haven’t contacted Lue about their coaching job yet, but he is in much better health now than when he had to take a leave of absence last season, Vardon adds. Lue has lost 35 pounds, changed his diet and works out twice a day.
  • GM Rob Pelinka will be in charge of the search for a new coach, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. That’s one more sign that Pelinka’s position with the organization is secure after the departure of team president Magic Johnson. The front office talked briefly to Walton’s representatives to see if they could work out an agreement to retain him as coach, Shelburne adds (Twitter link). However, discussions didn’t go very far.
  • Alex Caruso, Johnathan Williams and Jemerrio Jones may not return next season, but they provided an inspiring effort after the Lakers’ playoff hopes were extinguished, relays Kevin Ding of NBA.com. After making his NBA debut March 31, Jones thanked Walton after each game for giving him a chance to play. Caruso expressed similar gratitude to Walton and Pelinka in his exit interview on Wednesday. Caruso also credits South Bay Lakers president Joey Buss for helping him to land a two-way contract last season. “Might not be here now,” Caruso said. “It’s all butterfly effect getting to this point.”

Details On The Failed KCP-Jabari Parker Swap

The Lakers had a tentative deal in place earlier this season to acquire Jabari Parker and send Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Beasley to the Bulls, a source tell Bill Oram of The Athletic. ESPN previously reported that the two teams discussed swapping Parker and KCP.

Caldwell-Pope would have had to agree to the deal, since he re-signed with the Lakers on a one-year contract, giving him the right to veto any trade. The deal was not signed off over the weekend leading up to Anthony Davis‘ public trade request and the Bulls were stuck in limbo for several days. Many within the league viewed Davis’ request as a call for the Lakers to trade for him. The Bulls subscribed to that notion and moved onto other trade discussions.

Parker was eventually sent to the Wizards in the Otto Porter Jr. deal, while KCP remains on the Lakers’ roster. Beasley was dealt to the Clippers along with Ivica Zubac and ultimately waived.

In Beasley’s case, the deal can partially be attributed to a locker room flair-up with coach Luke Walton. Walton wanted Beasley to play more unselfishly; Beasley, along with teammate JaVale McGee, challenged the request.

The Lakers ended up netting Mike Muscala in the Beasley-Zubac trade. Team president Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka had watched Muscala score 17 points during a spirited Sixers win over the Lakers just days prior and some within the league believe that single performance inspired the front office to make the deal.

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.

Los Angeles Notes: Davis, Clippers, Ingram, Zubac

The Lakers and Pelicans paused trade discussions centered around Anthony Davis once the February 7 deadline arrived, but the sides could choose to circle back and open new discussions once the regular season comes to an end.

New Orleans fired general manager Dell Demps and is expected to ramp up its search for a new GM in the coming weeks, someone who will likely assist in moving Davis to a new team this upcoming offseason.

“We get off the phone with (the Lakers), and a minute later, offers are out there,” one Pelicans source told The Athletic’s Shams Charania around the trade deadline.

The Pelicans believed the Lakers were negotiating through the media, coupled with the fact that Davis’ agent Rich Paul — who also represents Lakers star LeBron James — delivered his client’s trade request just months after signing him to his agency. New Orleans’ management was clearly angered by these tactics, and it’s unclear if they’ll even consider moving Davis to Los Angeles this summer.

“I have been told that there’s no way Anthony Davis is coming here (to the Lakers), through the Pelicans,” ESPN’s Marc Spears said this week, as relayed by Dan Feldman of NBC Sports. “They’re just not going to do it.”

The Celtics would likely be considered front-runners to land Davis if they choose to pursue the NBA All-Star, owning a collection of young talent, future picks and promising assets to offer in a deal. Davis has averaged 26.5 points and 12.2 rebounds in 53 games this season.

There’s more today out of Los Angeles:

  • JaMychal Green, Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler are going through an adjustment process in their first full month with the Clippers, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. All three players were acquired by the team via trade in February, with each player holding multiple years of NBA experience.
  • Andre Ingram is once again taking the stage in his new deal with the Lakers, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes. Ingram has spent the past 11 seasons in the NBA G League, inking a 10-day contract with Los Angeles this week after briefly shining with the team last spring. “Last year was amazing, but this year, it means a little more,” Ingram said. “This is not just an Andre Ingram Day, it’s a Los Angeles Lakers game that you need to win, and this trip will be a good one to get some wins on. So that’s really the focus, genuinely to help the team win any way I can, whatever part I play in it.”
  • The rim protection of Ivica Zubac has helped the Clippers drastically improve on defense, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The Clippers acquired Zubac, an underrated two-way center, in a trade with the Lakers last month. “We have a rim-protector. Bottom line,” coach Doc Rivers said. “Trezz [Montrezl Harrell] does it at times. But Zu is a true rim-protector, and Zu has been great at it. So that’s why (we’ve improved).”

Pacific Notes: Zubac, Fox, Lakers’ Issues, Free Agency

Young center Ivica Zubac has kept close tabs on his former team and says he could have made a difference for the Lakers if they hadn’t dealt him, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register reports. Zubac was a part of the deal that landed brought power forward Mike Muscala to the Lakers. Zubac has averaged 8.6 PPG and 7.7 RPG in nine games as the Clippers’ starting center. “I’ve been watching almost every game,” Zubac said. “I feel like every time I watch them, I’m like, ‘If I was there, I would help them. I would definitely make a difference on the floor,’ you know? But they’re not my team anymore.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The longtime trainer of Kings guard De’Aaron Fox is now his agent, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Chris Gaston is newly certified as an agent and has launched the “Family First Sports Firm.” Knicks guard Damyean Dotson has also hired Gaston to co-represent him, Haynes adds.
  • Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and members of the front office believe that rival teams have taken great pains to cause internal damage to the franchise, a knowledgeable source told Sam Amick of The Athletic. President of basketball operations Magic Johnson felt the Pelicans didn’t negotiate in good faith during Anthony Davis discussions, Amick notes. The fact that specific trade packages were being reported throughout the process gives credence to those suspicions that other teams want to cause the Lakers grief.
  • While the Lakers could trade for Davis and/or land a top free agent, it’s also quite possible that they will strike out in those endeavors, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report writes. The future holds nothing more than “maybes” for the franchise and this disjointed season has given it a black eye, Pincus adds.

Jeanie Buss: Lakers’ Anthony Davis Offer Was “Fake News”

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss says reports of what her team offered to the Pelicans in an attempt to land Anthony Davis were exaggerated, tweets Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. Buss addressed the rumors in a speech today at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. She couldn’t mention Davis by name because of tampering rules, but said leaks that the Lakers were willing to trade “our entire roster” for “a certain player” were “fake news.”

A report just before last month’s trade deadline said L.A. was prepared to give up all its young talent, offering Brandon IngramLonzo BallKyle KuzmaIvica Zubac and Josh Hart to New Orleans, along with a pair of first-round draft picks.

The denial from Buss meshes with a report yesterday by ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, notes Christian Rivas of Silver Screen and Roll.

“My sources have told me within the last 48 hours that what we’ve heard the Lakers offered may not be true,” MacMullen said in an appearance on “The Jump.” “… I think there’s some question about just how much did they offer. Did they even get a chance to offer anything?”

There were rumors in the week before the deadline that former Pelicans GM Dell Demps was refusing to take calls from the Lakers to give them a chance to talk about Davis, so MacMullan may be right when she speculates that a formal offer was never made.

No one has confirmed which players L.A. would have been willing to part with to acquire Davis, but there have been reports that the trade talk had a negative effect on many of those whose names were mentioned. The Lakers haven’t played well since the deadline, falling into 10th place in the West with a 30-32 record.

L.A.’s trade plans involving Davis should become clearer once the season is over and negotiations can resume. However, the Lakers will find a more competitive playing field, with the Celtics and Knicks expected to become actively involved, along with other teams.