Storyline: Timofey Mozgov Free Agency

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Khimki Moscow Region is in negotiations to sign Timofey Mozgov, as Artem Komarov reported and Eurohoops confirms. The 32-year-old Russian center didn’t play any games this past season with the Orlando Magic – who waived him -due to a knee injury. His last playing stretch was the 31 games with the Nets in the 2017-18 season when he averaged 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds on a bit over 11 minutes of playtime.

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed center Timofey Mozgov, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released. “Timofey is a player who has shown the ability to change the game at the defensive end, and fills an area of need for us at the center position,” said Kupchak. “We are very pleased to add him to our team.”

Ian Begley: The Knicks are interested in Joakim Noah, but he isn’t the only big man on their radar. Another center some in the Knicks organization are high on is Timofey Mozgov, per league sources. The interest between Noah and the Knicks is strong and mutual. But Mozgov, an ex-Knick, provides an interesting alternative. With Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis on the roster, the Knicks probably won’t need a high-scoring center. Mozgov doesn’t need touches and would provide mobile rim protection and rebounding. He also compares favorably to Noah in some categories (age: Mozgov is 29, Noah is 31; recent health: Noah was limited to 29 games last season due to a left shoulder injury).

Mozgov, 29, will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer and is expected to receive strong interest and a lucrative long-term deal. The Cavs’ plan is to attempt to re-sign him, but a return could be less attractive for Mozgov if his reduced role continues. Cleveland, however, does own his Bird Rights, and he is eligible for a five-year extension with the franchise. The Cavaliers have $103 million committed in salary next season. If the franchise were to sign Mozgov to a $10 million annual deal – and his value could be more on the market – it would likely cost the Cavaliers over $26 million in salary and luxury tax.

He no longer has any discernible weaknesses, though he is still searching for consistency. Mozgov has always had good hands, good speed, impressive athleticism and great timing. For him, now, it’s just a matter of repetition and opportunity—not the dollars. “[My free agency] doesn’t change anything for me right now because whatever I do, I gotta do with my heart,” Mozgov said. “What I did last season, I gotta do this season, too. If you want to be a good player, there should be nothing changing. You’ve just gotta work hard.”
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