That 2019 deal — with the loathed cross-arena Clippers, no less — continues to haunt the Lakers.
Zubac has developed into a legitimate starting center, and the Clippers will pay him like one.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac has agreed on a three-year, $33 million extension, his agents Jeff Schwartz and Mike Lindeman of @excelbasketball tell ESPN. The Clippers declined his $7.5M team option for 2022-2023, clearing the way for Zubac's new deal.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2022
This looks like a fair salary for the 25-year-old. Maybe a slight overpay because the Clippers declined his cheaper team option, giving Zubac a raise sooner than necessary. But with owner Steve Ballmer willing to spend big, L.A. can pay a premium to ensure Zubac doesn’t hit free agency next year. There’s value in securing the center.
Zubac is a solid interior defender who scores efficiently in a limited offensive role. He looks content executing his assignments — helpful on a team that has stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to handle larger loads.
Given his limitations, Zubac won’t always finish games. That’s a reason he’s not drawing a higher salary and a reason the Clippers already extended Robert Covington, a more-versatile frontcourt player.
Now, the Clippers can turn their attention to finding Zubac’s primary backup. With John Wall seemingly taking L.A.’s mid-level exception, the Clippers might not be able to afford Isaiah Hartenstein with just the Non-Bird Exception (120% of the minimum salary). The Knicks’ Nerlens Noel looks like an option.