In an interview on ESPN Cleveland radio, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that for nearly two months, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been attempting to work a deal with the Denver Nuggets that would bring 7-1 reserve center Timofey Mozgov to the Cavaliers.
Mozgov, who turned 28 last month, has four years of NBA experience that began with the New York Knicks in 2010. During his first season with the team, Mozgov was dealt to Denver as part of the huge three-team deal that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York on February 22, 2011. He has also played on the Russian national team that was coached by new Cavalier head coach David Blatt.
Last season, Mozgov put together his best season, seeing action in every regular season game for the first time. The big man averaged 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds, starting 30 games over the course of the campaign.
There remains some question as to whether Cleveland will be able to obtain Mozgov, due to contract and salary cap issues. Set to make $4.65 million, he also has a team option for $4.95 million for the 2015-16 season. Any deal would likely require the Nuggets to take on a number of non-guaranteed contracts.
The Russian native has shown good mobility during his career, and has a knack for setting screens. Some of the knocks on Mozgov are that he’s foul-prone and not much of a shot-blocker, despite his impressive size.
The potential deal would allow Cleveland to supplement the team’s depth at center, perhaps the lone weakness on what has quickly become a championship-contending Cleveland squad. Currently, veteran Anderson Varejao is penciled in at that role, but he has had problems staying healthy the past few years. Behind him is offseason acquisition Brendan Haywood.
Should the two teams be unable to come together on a trade, the Cavaliers will resume trying to sign veteran free agent Emeka Okafor, who sat out all of last season as a member of the Phoenix Suns following neck surgery. Bringing in the nearly 32-year-old Okafor figures to be even more difficult than acquiring Mozgov, considering a number of teams are also clamoring for his services.