The Magic have put in a request to the NBA applying to have Timofey Mozgov‘s dead money removed from their cap due to a career-ending injury/illness, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).
Mozgov, who entered the 2019/20 league year on an expiring $16.72MM contract, was waived by Orlando during the offseason. However, because the last year of his deal was fully guaranteed, it remains on the Magic’s books, having been stretched across three seasons at an annual rate of approximately $5.57MM.
Mozgov, 33, was initially acquired by the Magic during the 2018 offseason in a salary-dump deal, but didn’t appear in a single game for the team last season due to knee issues. He underwent an arthroscopic procedure in January.
If a player is diagnosed with an ailment believed to be career-ending, his team is eligible to apply for cap relief one year after he last appeared in a game. In order for the Magic to receive cap relief, an independent physician or a Fitness to Play panel would have to rule it would be a medically unacceptable risk for Mozgov to return to action. The veteran center would still receive his remaining salary in that scenario.
Chris Bosh, Nikola Pekovic, Mirza Teletovic, and Omer Asik are some of the other players who have suffered career-ending injuries or illnesses and had their salaries removed from their teams’ caps in recent years.
Mozgov’s case looks a little more complicated though, since he signed with Russian team Khimki shortly after being waived by Orlando and is working to make his way back on the court. If it appears as though he’s on track to get healthy and play for Khimki, the Magic’s request is unlikely to be granted.
If the NBA does approve the request, the team would be able to remove Mozgov’s $5.57MM cap charge from its books for this season and the following two. That extra flexibility would be a big help this season, since the team is currently carrying just 13 players on standard contracts and is only $1.9MM below its hard cap, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.