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Report: Cavaliers trying to trade for Nuggets’ Timofey Mozgov

Aug 26, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT

Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets - Game Two Getty Images

The Cavaliers may be favored by the oddsmakers to win the 2015 NBA title, but there are questions of how quickly the new pieces will be able to fit, especially on the defensive end.

Kevin Love hasn’t been historically known as even an average defender, and Cleveland has a shortage of bigs on the roster, needing to rely heavily on Anderson Varejao and the likes of Brendan Haywood to produce on that end of the floor as part of the team’s frontcourt rotation.

Varejao is fine when healthy, but appeared in just 65 games last year, and just 25, 25 and 31 in the three seasons prior. The Cavaliers are all-in on trying to win now, so it would make sense to do whatever they can to improve what now looks to be the one weakness on the roster.

From Brian Windhorst of (via HoopsHype):

“The guy the Cavs are trying to trade for is Timofey Mozgov from the Denver,” said Windhorst, during a radio appearance for ESPN Cleveland. “He played with David Blatt on the Russian national team — a starter quality guy who can defend a little bit, makes about $3 million bucks. … But Denver’s not giving him up. That’s the guy they want to get their hands on, that would be a nice addition. But they haven’t been able to do that deal so far.”

Mozgov is under contract for $4.65 million next season, and the Nuggets have a team option for just under $5 million for the year after that.

Salary isn’t the issue, however; it appears to be the lack of assets being offered on Cleveland’s side that have things at a stand-still.

Windhorst says that the non-guaranteed contracts of players that Cleveland traded for earlier this summer is what has been offered to this point, but it’s unclear why Denver would be motivated to make a trade like this.

Mozgov started in 30 games for a Nuggets team that was decimated by injury a season ago, and played all 82 as part of the team’s regular rotation. He averaged career-bests of 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per contest, and Denver was noticeably better defensively when Mozgov was on the floor.

His ability to defend and familiarity with Cleveland’s new head coach would indeed seem to make Mozgov a perfect fit for what the Cavaliers are lacking. But whether or not Cleveland can put together a strong enough offer to land him in trade remains to be seen.

  1. charlessb - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    oh come on denver you have javale and varied. oh wait… JAVALE MCGEE!!1

  2. ljl2 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    This is old news. Here’s an SI report from August 9th.

    • antistratfordian - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      Not really. That says “tried” and this is “trying”.

  3. zoomy123 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Grizz 2015 first round pick + 2018 first round pick. That seems like quite a high price but no team is giving away skilled/defensive 7 footers for chump change.

    • muhangis - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:05 AM

      Man that is waay way too much. That is stupid GM stuff right there! You can luckily get a guy of Mozgov’s talents in the 2nd round.

      TM had one decent year in the NBA, and that was last year. It wasn’t great, but it was alright. Let’s not make too much of this guy, yet

      • zoomy123 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:09 AM

        Does this Cavs team look like they’re trying to wait around and get lucky in the 2nd round? Timofey wasn’t great but he was very good, and like I said, very good skilled/defensive 7 footers don’t come cheap. In any event, Timofey wouldn’t need to be great, he would be the defensive anchor the Cavs need; he would literally complete the team. A couple first round picks to make your team one of the two best in the entire league is chump change in the grand scheme of things.

    • muhangis - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      It is not chump change. One 1st rd pick, possibly or perhaps… but def not two, even if they are late picks. This is not Pau Gasol here (’07 version)

      Mozgov isn’t even a starting C caliber, he wasn’t in Denver, and he never was a starter. He’s a quality backup at best (not trying to rip on the guy either)

  4. balsagna - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    This would be a fantastic trade for the Cavs. At that price structure there aren’t a lot of 7 footers worth a damn in the NBA. I just don’t see Denver’s reasoning behind the trade. Adding a rim protector on the Cavs makes them, on paper, one of the most complete rosters in the NBA. That would be scary, and I would have Ron Burgudy’s pleated pants issue at work.

    • zoomy123 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      Exactly. If Cleveland gets Mozgov that’s championship. They are the most complete team in the NBA outside of SAS: they would run 10 deep, have a nice mix of veterans + youth, have an incredibly balanced offense + defense, and would have 2 of the top 10 best players in the game.

  5. spursareold - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    Denver actually CAN’T make that trade, unless they cut contracts. They already have 15. They can’t go over that, even temporarily, to do the trade. If their contracts are guaranteed, Cleveland would need to find a 3rd team (and maybe a 4th) to make this happen.

    • ljl2 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      the Cavs have 3 guys w 3.3m in non-guaranteed contracts that make it doable.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        After Sept. 22nd. According to ESPN trade machine they can’t trade any newly acquired players until after that date.

      • ljl2 - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        ProBasketballPundit – Correct, Murphy and Thomas cannot be moved until then. However, Andrew Wiggins couldn’t be traded until 30 days after he signed his contract and see how that worked out. How would not being able to be traded until the 22nd (before camps even open) prevent a trade from happening?

      • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        @ljl2 Just saying that Cavaliers fans shouldn’t get hyped just yet. It’s easy to get impatient during an offseason like this.

      • ljl2 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        ProBasketballPundit – true Cleveland fans don’t count anything until it happens. Never have.

  6. antistratfordian - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    I remember reading Mozgov’s rookie journal from 2010. This pa.ssage made me a Mozgov fan:

    “‘The King’ is a real king! A superstar, one hundred percent!

    Physically he is very strong, fast and a great leaper. But what’s most important: he is outrageously calm. He doesn’t flare up, doesn’t hurry and manages to do everything in time. He’s playing very confident and sober-minded. I think this ability to keep his cool compliments his talent perfectly. Or, even, it’s an integral part of his talent.

    It was him, basically, who buried us. Everybody thought it would be hard for him to play the first part in this Big Trio. At least because he’s a newcomer and there are other heroes on the team. But ‘His Majesty’ has surprised everybody once again: he showed that his abilities, which we all thought we already knew well, are not yet uncovered completely.”

    He seems like an intelligent and thoughtful person. He’d be a perfect fit on the Cavs.

    • nflcrimerankingscom - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:11 PM

      Sounds like some translated russian jibberish.

    • duhwighthoward - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      I got a good laugh out of that. Especially, “He’s playing very confident and sober-minded.”

      Thank you for sharing.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:20 PM

        I like reading rookie journals and such. They’re fascinating.

  7. kamauthabiti - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    can’t understand why Denver would even think about such a trade. you always keep good bigs, especially if they play adequate defense, which he does.

  8. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Timofey Mosgov makes $4.65 next season and has a team option for $4.95 next season. Not “about $3 million”

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:27 PM


      you feeling well?

      that comment you just made sounds like ones I used to make…

      thanks for saying it so I didn’t have to

  9. 88heatnation - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    Perfect addition next to K.Love

  10. jolink653 - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Yeah, Denver doesn’t make this trade. Cleveland has nothing of any value to offer Denver and Denver really likes Mozgov. Wishful thinking on the Cavs part

  11. namaths5thofwhiskey - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Always hated that he had to be included in the Carmelo trade. Cavs won if they get him.

  12. eugenesaxe1 - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Well, Thabeet will be available real soon.
    And Zydrunas (???) wants to come back, and lbj always liked him…

  13. enigma2742 - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    not a lot of people know who he is but he’s a very good player and could be even better playing with lebron james. he can post up and play a little defense

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