The Cleveland Cavaliers have long liked Timofey Mozgov. But it looks like they didn’t just like him, they like like him.
Just two days after acquiring guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks in a three-team deal, the Cavs were in “advanced discussions” to add Mozgov from the Denver Nuggets, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst reported Wednesday, citing league sources.
The initial report indicated the Cavs would trade “at least” one first-round draft pick to Denver as part of the deal.
But wait! There’s more! [tweet https://twitter.com/ESPNSteinLine/status/552927993970974720 align=’center’]
That’s correct, the Cavs have reportedly upped the ante to TWO future first-rounders — for Timofey Mozgov.
Mozgov, in case you’re not familiar — and you probably aren’t — is a 7-foot-1 Russian who has been an adequate backup in more than half of the games he has played in his five-year NBA career. He had a breakout season in 2013-14, when he averaged 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game and shot 52 percent from the field. This season, he is putting up 8.5 points and grabbing a career-best 7.9 rebounds per game.
The Cavs’ actions over the past week indicate general manager David Griffin might have been spooked by reports that have trickled out about LeBron James’ supposed dissatisfaction with the organization’s direction. One report indicated a rift between James and first-year NBA head coach David Blatt, while another hinted at James considering bolting Cleveland, again, as a free agent at the end of the season.
Keep in mind that if James re-signs with Cleveland, the two picks going to the Nuggets would come toward the end of the first round. Regardless, the Nuggets would have picked up two top-30 picks for a player who was signed as an undrafted 24-year-old by the New York Knicks in 2010.
And if James leaves next summer … look out.
When the Cavs lucked into adding James and Kevin Love last summer, it was obvious they had entered win-now territory. Nobody had any idea it was “win-now so badly you give up two first-round picks for Timofey Mozgov” territory, though.
Thumbnail photo via Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Images
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