Just before the trade deadline on Thursday, it was announced that the Los Angeles Lakers had acquired 27-year-old Mike Muscala from the Los Angeles Clippers, in exchange for Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley.
Muscala, who was born in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, is an alumni of Bucknell College where he represented the Bucknell Bisons men’s basketball team for four seasons. In his final year, he averaged 18.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.3 blocks per game, through 34 games. During his senior year at Bucknell, Muscala marked himself as the college’s all-time leading points scorer. This earned the 21-year-old a route to the professional ranks, where he was drafted with the 44th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks.
On draft night, Muscala was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, who he represented for the 2013 NBA Summer League. The power forward come center then diverted his route to Spain, where he signed his first professional contract with Rio Natura Monbus of the Liga ACB. Over 20 games, he averaged 14.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists, before setting his sights back to the United States.
In February 2014, Muscala signed a multi-year contract with the Atlanta Hawks. Throughout the 2014/15 season, he received multiple assignments to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the then NBA D-League. In the 2015/16 season, Muscala cemented his spot in the Hawks’ rotation and did so for three straight seasons, playing 60, 70 and 53 regular season games. In those three seasons, he represented the Hawks in the post-season a total of 25 times. Such experience will be beneficial to the Lakers should they make the playoffs this season.
Prior to this season, the 6’11 power forward/center was involved in a three-team trade, where he landed with the Philadelphia 76ers. During his time at the 76ers (47 games), he averaged 7.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. Muscala was then involved in the monster trade that took Tobias Harris to Philadelphia before the 2019 NBA trade deadline. He was one of the pieces sent to the Los Angeles Clippers in the deal. A day later, without pulling on a Clippers jersey, Muscala was traded across the city to the Lakers.
Muscala gives the Lakers an option that they did not have before. As a stretch-5 that can knock the ball down from three (.365% career), this gives ball handlers like LeBron James and Rajon Rondo more space to operate in. JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler are huge pieces for the team, no doubt, but they are two players that offer similar skill sets. Muscala offers roster flexibility as the team looks to aggressively pursue the playoffs in the second half of the season.