The Nuggets are expected to pick up their team option on Timofey Mozgov‘s contract for the 2015/16 season, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post reports. The option will pay him nearly $5MM, which is the final year of his current deal. With Mozgov’s contract on the books Denver will have approximately $61.2MM in guaranteed salary commitments for the 2015/16 season. This figure does not include Arron Afflalo‘s player option, which is worth $7.5MM. With Denver picking up Mozgov’s option, he will now become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016.
The Nuggets’ decision to pick up Mozgov’s option isn’t necessarily a sign that they won’t trade him. Denver has shown willingness to trade players right after they have signed with the team, as is evidenced by their 2012 trade that sent Nene to the Wizards the same season that the Nuggets re-signed him. The Nuggets also have JaVale McGee, who is set to be paid $12MM in 2015/16, and 2014 draftee Jusuf Nurkic on the roster at center, making Mozgov potentially expendable.
The Cavs were one of the teams with interest in acquiring Mozgov either this season by trade or next through free agency. Cleveland coach David Blatt is familiar with Mozgov, having coached the player on the Russian National team. And with Mozgov off to a good start to the season averaging 11.5 PPG in just 21.5 MPG in his first two starts for the Nuggets, his trade value is upped accordingly. Mozgov’s career numbers over 214 games are 6.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 0.9 BPG. His career slash line is .515/.143/.739.