With aspirations for Anthony Davis and Bradley Beal, the Lakers came out of the trade deadline with Mike Muscala and Reggie Bullock, two guys aren’t going to change a whole lot in Lakerland.
The more interesting side of this story is not from who the Lakers gave up, but why they gave them up in the first place. While on the FnA Podcast, Brad Turner of the L.A. Times cited JaVale McGee within a multitude of reasons why the Lakers decided to part with one of their bright young Center sin Ivica Zubac.
“The Lakers kept thinking to themselves ‘We won’t be able to afford Zubac this summer. That can’t happen.’ And, the biggest key out of it all is that they wanted Michael Beasley gone. He had to be moved on.
Some of it was because of the interaction he had with Luke Walton after the Golden State game when he spoke out about what was going on and guys being selfish. He felt singled out.
So, based on that, the Lakers knew going forward if they’re going to keep all this salary cap space, then we can’t afford to keep Zu. They loved Zubac, they wanted to keep him around but they couldn’t afford to keep him on the team this summer.
Also, a small thing was, JaVale McGee started feeling some kind of way about not playing as much, about not starting…You have to weigh all those things.”
Among other reasons, JaVale’s unhappiness was one reason Zu couldn’t stay.
And although Ivica is much younger than McGee (and, therefore, has much more potential), holding onto JaVale is essential if the Lakers want to maximize their chances of making it into the playoff this season. His inside shot blocking ability and presence under the rim on the other end give the Lakers a much-needed boost, especially in the frontcourt.
But JaVale’s disdain towards his own situation is just one of many problems going on in that locker room. When the team was first assembled months ago, this is the type of stuff we kind of expected from this band of misfits. But did we really expect to see this much dysfunction?
Magic Johnson and the front office are doing all they can to bring these guys together… but it is proving especially challenging of late.