Ivica Zubac has been paid to play basketball since he was 16 years old, three years before the Lakers brought him to the NBA.

He has followed with interest as top-flight college programs navigate a scandal in which players, including Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, reportedly received money from an agent while in college.

Zubac heard from his American teammates on Croatian and Serbian pro teams about “good time they had in college” and on Monday he acknowledged a desire to have experienced it.

But there were more practical matters influencing his decision to stay in Europe.

“I think everybody should get paid no matter what,” Zubac said. “If they are making money (for) that team in Europe or a college in the USA, they should get paid. For sure. That’s their right. I don’t know, I just think it’s not fair to the players to not get paid.”

He also believes that “basketball-wise, it’s better to play overseas because you’re playing against guys who are physically more (developed). They can get you prepared for the NBA more than guys your own age.”

Fifteen months ago, Zubac wondered just how ready he was for the NBA, as he sat in front of his locker at in Philips Arena, trembling as he studied the scouting report on Dwight Howard.

Before scoring 10 points in 16 minutes on Monday in his first game back in Atlanta, Zubac recounted the conversation when Luke Walton told him he would make his first career start against the Hawks. He remembered the nerves he felt the whole day and the sleep he did not get the night before.