The Cavs targeted Timofey Mozgov, offering a first-round pick to the Nuggets to entice them to part with the 7’1″ center, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports said in an appearance Thursday on WFAN Radio in New York, according to Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It’s not clear whether that offer remains on the table for Denver, but the Cavs, who are over the cap and without a trade exception, would have to send salary to the Nuggets in order for such an exchange to be feasible under the league’s salary matching rules. The Kevin Love trade agreement, in its current form, wouldn’t change that.
Cleveland has been eyeing big men to supplement Love and Anderson Varejao, as Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reported Thursday. Mozgov would be a potential starter, having made 30 starts for the Nuggets this past season to go along with career highs in points (9.4), rebounds (6.4) and minutes (21.6) per game. The 28-year-old sealed off the rim, notching 2.0 blocks per 36 minutes, and his 16.7 PER demonstrated above-average efficiency. He’ll make $4.65MM this coming season, and his contract includes a $4.95MM team option for 2015/16.
Still, the Cavs have faith that Brendan Haywood, whom they acquired last month from the Hornets, can contribute this season, as Amico noted in the same report. Haywood’s unusually structured contract will also become an intriguing trade asset next summer, as I explained.
The Nuggets are halfway through a four-year, $44MM deal with center JaVale McGee, and Denver’s management has been anxious for him to get minutes. He’s returning from having missed most of last season because of injury, and the team also has Jusuf Nurkic, this year’s No. 16 overall pick, at center. J.J. Hickson is another option at the position, even though he’s undersized.