Last season, the trade that brought Timofey Mozgov was one of the things that saved the Cleveland Cavaliers season. In 2015-2016, he’s been struggling, which means teams are reaching out to try and see if he’s available.
Right now? The Cavaliers don’t know. Mozgov averaged 10.6 points per game for the Cavs last season and had a net rating of +12.3 per 100 possessions. This season he’s lost his starting spot, playing 7 minutes less per game and averaging 6.4 points a night, shooting 50.3% from the field compared to 59% with the Cavaliers last season. What’s worse for him? The Cavaliers are 9.1 points per 100 possessions better when he’s not on the floor.
Tristan Thompson has taken over the starting center spot, with his offseason contract issues not really getting in the way this year. The Cavaliers have won the last six games he’s started in, in which he’s averaging 9.3 points and 8.3 rebounds (31.9 minutes a night), and also a +7.2 for the Cavaliers while he’s on the floor. Mozgov had issues dating back to the NBA Finals against the Warriors, with the small ball taking him off the floor. This season it seems that negative momentum has carried over.
Anderson Varejao is another center the Cavaliers have, but he’s not a big part of the rotation, averaging just 8.8 minutes per game. The Cavaliers, despite their long term relationship with him, would love to trade him, but no one is willing to take his contract which runs through the 2017-2018 season, with only the last year on it not guaranteed. Mozgov makes less than $5 million this season, his last on the team option the Cavs exercised. It might mean he’s not going to get the big money he was hoping for if things keep going like this, but it’s not going to be a problem moving him.
A knee issue has been bothering Mozgov as well, but even before that reason came up, it was just a rough start for him basketball-wise, and the Cavaliers are hoping there’s some way out of this slump for him, or they will try to find something through a trade that does help their team depth-wise. Mozgov right now is hardly contributing anything.