It’s official. Via The Vertical , an agreement is now in place and the Lakers will actually shell out $64 million over four years to Timofey Mozgov.
But remember, the moratorium doesn’t end until January 7, so this is merely a verbal agreement between the parties and the deal can only be finalized in a week. Hopefully for GM Mitch Kupchak and co-owner Jim Buss, people will have stopped laughing on Twitter by then.
It’s tough to imagine championship season possibly going more poorly for Timofey Mozgov. Not that it ended up costing him much in free agency, though.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Mozgov is on the verge of a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers worth a staggering $65 million.
The towering Russian big man seemed primed for a massive payday this summer after playing a key role during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ run to the 2014 NBA Finals. But an offseason surgery led to Mozgov entering training camp out of shape, and he subsequently fell out of the wine and gold’s normal playing rotation – especially after Tyronn Lue took over for David Blatt in mid January. To wit, the 29 year old didn’t play a single meaningful minute in the Cavaliers’ Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors.
If healthy, Mozgov is a top-tier reserve center at the very least. But for a little more than $16 million per year, the Lakers are paying him starter’s money, an especially vexing decision considering it’s unclear who Mitch Kupchak and company are bidding against in the opening hour of free agency. The four guaranteed years for a player of Mozgov’s age and injury history boggles the mind, too.
The pool of available centers is deep. Conventional wisdom said the Lakers would pursue the likes of Bismack Biyombo, Festus Ezeli, or Ian Mahinmi after Hassan Whiteside elected against giving them a meeting. Even Cole Aldrich would have made some sense for Luke Walton’s rebuilding team.
Los Angeles, however, obviously saw something in Mozgov few others did. Unfortunately for the purple and gold, it was probably the on-court performance that he failed to duplicate in 2015-16 – and very well might going forward.