Ivica Zubac is happy he was traded.
The 22-year-old forward was sent from the Lakers, along with Michael Beasley, to the Clippers in exchange for Mike Muscala just before the trade deadline.
“I was taught to hate the Clippers, you know, since I was with the Lakers,” Zubac told the Orange County Register. “So, I never liked the Clippers before. But since coming over here, it’s been amazing. The team, the franchise, the organization is like a family, a big family, everyone’s so close and it’s been awesome.”
The Clippers enter play Tuesday in sixth place of the Western Conference with a 47-31 record and have already clinched a playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Lakers stand at 35-42 and will miss the postseason.
“A bunch of fans have come up to me and they say, ‘Why did we trade you? The Lakers front office did the biggest mistake,’” Zubac said. “Everyone’s like, ‘We miss you.’
“And I always say, ‘I’m on a better team now. You don’t have to be sad for me.’ And I always make sure to tell them, ‘Check our game out if you want to see good basketball.’”
Since the deal, Zubac has averaged nine points and 7.5 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game.
“(It) seems like Lakers fans miss me and they regret the trade,” Zubac said. “And Clippers fans are just happy to have me.”
Zubac clarified his comments later on Twitter. He said he wasn’t saying “anything bad about the Lakers.”
“Just wanted everyone to know that we’re playing good basketball and that there’s nothing wrong with checking out our games too,” Zubac said.
Zubac was originally drafted by the Lakers in the second round in 2016. He was in-and-out of the team’s rotation over his first two NBA seasons but developed into a contributor before he was dealt.
In total, Zubac has tallied 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game over 136 career appearances.