The odds are against the Cavaliers re-signing center Timofey Mozgov in free agency if they aren’t able to trade him, writes Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer. Pluto cites Cleveland’s salary cap issues and Mozgov’s declining performance as reasons that he might be moved. In addition, Mozgov suffered through early-season knee problems and doesn’t fit the faster-paced system favored by coach Tyronn Lue. With Anderson Varejao, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Sasha Kaun all on the roster, there may not be room for Mozgov beyond this season.
There’s more news out of Cleveland:
- Cavaliers GM David Griffin is seeking another “wing player,” Pluto writes in the same story. Griffin’s priority is defense, although he would like to find someone who can shoot as well. Pluto mentions the Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha and the Kings’ Ben McLemore as possibilities, adding that Cleveland may also have interest in Joe Johnson if he gets bought out by the Nets. Pluto’s Plain Dealer colleague Chris Haynes reported that the Cavs would jump at the chance to sign Johnson for the minimum if he works a buyout.
- Kobe Bryant‘s farewell tour has LeBron James thinking about the inevitable end of his basketball career, according to Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. The 13-year veteran isn’t sure if he wants a farewell tour like Bryant’s, but he indicated that he would like to leave the league while he’s still among its best players. “All the respective greats try to play at the highest level they can,” James said. “I’m going to give it my all obviously until I can’t. One thing I won’t be, I don’t ever believe or think that I’ll be an embarrassment to my fans or my family.”
- Lue said unusual circumstances have contributed to make the midseason coaching change in Cleveland more difficult than it might have been, Ridenour writes in a separate story. Lue is considered a villain in Israel after being chosen to replace David Blatt on the Cavaliers’ bench, and he is belittled by some people for being selected as an All-Star Game coach with so little experience. “I’ve been able to block it out, but it’s still tough,” Lue said. “You’ve been in this league for 18 years and people who know you and your family know that you’re not that way. It’s tough for people to talk about you in that sense. But it’s OK, I can get over it.”