While most news surrounding the Cleveland Cavaliers centers on their much-anticipated matchup with the Golden State Warriors tonight, the Cavs are also fielding questions about trading center Timofey Mozgov.
An unsung hero during Cleveland’s deep playoff run last year, Mozgov’s role has been reduced severely in the 2015-16 season. Apparently his role has been reduced enough that the Cavaliers think they might get a more-valuable player through a trade.
A report from Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski earlier this week suggests that Cleveland has “started to make calls on the market” for their backup center, “who could appeal to Western Conference contenders.”
However, it’s worth noting that CBS Sports claims Cleveland has no interest in moving Mozgov, considering that they gave away two future first-round draft picks last season to acquire the Russian center.
But if this is true, it could change pretty quickly if the 7’1″ big man continues under-peforming. Mozgov has had trouble hanging on to close-range passes this season and he’s been foul prone too. The numbers don’t do him any justice either since the Cavs are scoring 8.5 points more per 100 possessions when Mozgov isn’t on the floor. So far he’s averaging 6.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 17.8 minutes per game.
Cleveland largely acquired Mozgov from the Denver Nuggets last season because they needed a rim protector. And he did a solid job at this, averaging 1.2 blocks per game in 25 minutes. He was even better in the postseason, blocking 1.8 shots per game to go along with 10.6 PPG and 7.3 RPG.
Times have changed for Cleveland, though, since their full lineup is healthy right now. The play of Tristan Thompson has made Mozgov more of a shot-blocking luxury than an important cog in the team. The 6’9″ center is averaging 7.7 PPG, 9.6 RPG and shooting 56.1% from the field in 27.6 minutes per game. The only catch is that Thompson isn’t quite the rim protector that Mozgov is since he only averages 0.4 blocks each game.
Nevertheless, speculation is high enough to suggest that the Cavs will at least field offers for Mozgov. Contenders that could possibly find a need for a big center include the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and the Indiana Pacers. But once again, anything at this point is just speculation until Cleveland actually makes a serious move with Mozgov.