Timofey Mozgov is averaging fewer than 10 minutes per game this season for the Nuggets, but there was no shortage of teams pursuing him at the trade deadline, as we heard the Heat, Timberwolves, Bobcats and Knicks were after the 7'1" center. New York, the team that originally brought Mozgov to the NBA from Russia, maintains its interest in Mozgov as he approaches restricted free agency this summer, according to Mark Berman of the New York Post (Sulia link).
Berman followed up on his report last night that Mozgov is fond of his time with the Knicks, the team with which he spent half a season before going to the Nuggets in the Carmelo Anthony trade. Still, Mozgov didn't say New York has a leg up on any other team as he considers where to sign, which makes sense given the Knicks' financial constraints.
The Knicks will likely be more than $4MM over the tax threshold this summer, meaning they'll be ineligible to receive players in a sign-and-trade and couldn't offer Mozgov more than the taxpayer's mid-level exception. That exception allows for a three-year deal with a starting salary of $3.183MM next season, and based on the number of teams that seemed eager to take him on at the deadline, Mozgov could field better offers in the summer. Berman argues that his lack of playing time this year has likely depressed his market value, but Mozgov is only a season removed from his career year in 2011/12, when he started 35 games and averaged 5.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game in 44 total contests.
The Nuggets will have the right to match any offer as long as they extend a qualifying offer, and they might be tempted to match the limited contract the Knicks could put on the table. They weren't willing to trade Mozgov this season unless they received an overwhelming offer, even though the team's other centers, JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos, both have guaranteed deals for next season.