Timofey Mozgov

Magic Waive Center Timofey Mozgov

The Magic have waived center Timofey Mozgov, according to a tweet from the team’s PR department. Mozgov missed all of last season due to a knee injury.

Mozgov’s $16.72MM salary for next season is fully guaranteed and Orlando will use the stretch provision to avoid going over the luxury tax threshold, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. His salary will be stretched at a cost of $5.57MM per year over the next three years. By stretching Mozgov’s contract, Orlando could potentially retain restricted free agent Khem Birch, Robbins adds (Twitter links). Orlando made Birch an RFA by extending a $1.82MM qualifying offer.

The Magic were $3MM over the luxury tax line and a projected $890K below the tax apron prior to waiving Mozgov, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. By stretching Mozgov, Orlando falls $8.2MM under the tax and $12MM under the apron, Marks adds.

Mozgov underwent right knee surgery in early January. The Magic acquired him last July as part of a three-way swap with the Bulls and Hornets.

Mozgov, 32, was one of the big winners during the free agent frenzy of 2016, as he signed a four-year, $64MM deal with the Lakers. Buyer’s remorse quickly set in as he only appeared in 54 games with Los Angeles before he was traded to Brooklyn. The Hornets acquired him last summer, then shipped him to Orlando.

Given his injury situation and lack of production in prior years, Mozgov made find it difficult landing another NBA job.

Southeast Notes: Winslow, Mozgov, Hornets, Gordon

Justise Winslow took a giant leap with the Heat in December, seeing most of his minutes at point guard and proving his worth by running the team’s offense during games. The sudden transformation came when All-Star guard Goran Dragic sustained a knee injury, forcing coach Erik Spoelstra to make a quick decision and give more ball-handling duties to Winslow.

Winslow has thrived in Dragic’s absence, providing multiple 20-plus point games and high assist games with Miami.

“Justise at the point guard is a lot different,” teammate Hassan Whiteside said. “He’s so big, he can just a lot of time bulldoze his way to the basket when he can’t get a pass.”

The rapid increase of production from Winslow, the Heat’s 2015 first-round pick, has earned the confidence of Spoelstra and the Heat’s coaching staff. Spoelstra outlined his perfect hypothetical stat line for Winslow in the coming years, giving him a high benchmark to set.

“I think the perfect stat lines for him would be 14, 15 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, five steals,” Spoelstra said, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “There’s very few guys in this league that can have that kind of balance and effect on a basketball game and he’s one of those kind of guys.”

Winslow has averaged 14.7 points, 5.1 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game over his last 13 contests, with the Heat holding a 9-4 record during that span.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic center Timofey Mozgov underwent a successful arthroscopic procedure in his right knee, the team announced on social media. Mozgov had the surgery on Friday in Miami, with his return to basketball activity dictated on how he responds to treatment. Mosgov has yet to play a single game with Orlando this season.
  • Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer examines the situation between Kemba Walker and the Hornets, with Walker set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Charlotte has failed to build a successful team around Walker during his time with the team, Fowler writes, but could offer him a five-year maximum extension worth $190MM in free agency. Walker has averaged a career-high 25.3 points, 5.9 assists and 1.3 steals this season with the Hornets.
  • Magic coach Steve Clifford praised Aaron Gordon for his solid play in recent games, as relayed by Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel.“I think he’s playing at an incredibly high level and some nights he’s not getting as many shots, but I think it’s because he’s really locked in on just making the right play and making plays for his teammates and things like that,” Clifford said of Gordon. “I think his defense and his rebounding have been terrific and I think he’s in a stretch of games here where he’s just playing really well.”

Magic Rumors: Grant, Mozgov, Gordon, Caupain

Newly-acquired point guard Jerian Grant expected to have a bigger role with the Magic than he had with the Bulls, John Denton of the team’s website reports. Grant was traded to Orlando as part of a three-team deal also involving the Hornets. He’ll compete with D.J. Augustin for the starting job. “I’ve improved and learned a lot about the game – about how you have to be aggressive, know the game and know your teammates,’’ Grant told Denton. “Being that point guard, it’s the toughest position in the league and you’ve got to bring it every night. I feel that with this opportunity, I’m ready to take advantage of.”

In other developments involving the Magic:

  • Center Timofey Mozgov was the other player acquired in the trade but it’s uncertain what his role will be, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports. Mozgov has two years and $32.72MM remaining on his contract but Orlando has three other centers on the roster, including Nikola Vucevic, lottery pick Mohamed Bamba and Khem Birch. “He’s very bright,” coach Steve Clifford said of Mozgov. “He’s a big body, and he’s a much better athlete than people give him credit for. So we’ll see. We’ll bring them in and start to get to know them.”
  • Forward Aaron Gordon said that reaching a multi-year agreement with the club brought tears to his eyes, Denton writes in a separate piece. Gordon was relieved to sign a four-year, $80MM contract after entering the month as a restricted free agent. “I’m a guy who naturally has a lot of energy, so with all of that [pressure of getting an agreement] piled on top of me, I was pacing,” he said. “It’s relief that we got it done and even more relief that I can come back to Orlando.”
  • The Magic have signed guard Troy Caupain to a two-way contract. Caupain played for their G League team last season. Get all the details here.

Magic Likely Done In Free Agency

After re-signing Aaron Gordon to his four-year, $76MM deal, using part of their mid-level exception to reach agreements with rookies Melvin Frazier and Isaiah Briscoe, and adding a reliable backup point guard in Jerian Grant to spell incumbent starting point guard D.J. Augustin, the Magic are likely finished adding players to their roster through free agency this summer, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.

“We’re in a pretty good place with our financial flexibility, all things considered, but the roster is done as we sit here today,” Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman says. “We don’t feel like there are any holes that we need to shore up. We can always get better, and we’ll always be on the lookout for ways to get better. At this point, that would come probably more in the form of a trade if we were to do anything for the remainder of the summer.”

The Magic are currently projected to have a team salary around $110.9MM, assuming the team retains the services of backup guard Rodney Purvis, whose $1.4MM salary is non-guaranteed. Per Robbins, Orlando will also look to fill its open slots for two-way contracts and could bring in additional players on training camp deals.

The statement from Weltman all but puts to rest the speculation surrounding Isaiah Thomas, who was reported to be “negotiating a possible deal” with the Magic last week. Per Robbins, Orlando considered Thomas, but negotiations never took place, as the club believes Augustin is fully capable of leading this year’s squad.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve our roster at every position, but we are in capable hands with D.J.,” Weltman said. “D.J. is a very good player and he’s coming off the best year of his career under trying circumstances. D.J. represents what we want to be about: a professional who prepares, who plays for his teammates and who always brings the same personality to the team irrespective of the highs and lows of the season.”

Weltman also added that newly-acquired center Timofey Mozgov is not currently a candidate to be bought out, despite likely being buried on the depth chart behind Nikola Vucevic and heralded rookie Mohamed Bamba. Rather, the team hopes Mozgov will impact the team off the court through his experience and professionalism.

Should the Magic change their mind and decide to re-enter the free-agent fray, they still have nearly $7MM of their mid-level exception remaining after signing both Frazier and Briscoe to deals exceeding two seasons.

Hornets, Bulls, Magic Complete Three-Way Deal

JULY 8, 8:27am: The trade is now official, according to press releases from all three teams. In addition to receiving Biyombo, the Hornets will also acquire 2019 and 2020 second-round picks from the Magic. Orlando holds multiple second-rounders in each year, so it’s not yet clear which selections are changing hands.

“There were some elements of (the trade) that we were discussing individually the last few weeks, but the deal actually came together just [on Saturday],” said Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman. “It was really kind of a quick-hitter.”

The Bulls intend to waive Stone, per Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link).

JULY 7, 8:20pm: The trade has been agreed to in principle, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

JULY 7, 7:51pm: Charlotte, Chicago and Orlando are close to a trade that would send Timofey Mozgov to the Magic, Bismack Biyombo to the Hornets and Julyan Stone to the Bulls, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Bulls guard Jerian Grant will also go to Orlando in the deal, Woj adds (Twitter link).

The Hornets will give up more than $17MM in the trade between Mozgov’s $16MM salary for next season and Stone’s non-guaranteed $1,656,092. This will be the second trade of the summer for Mozgov, who was shipped from the Nets to the Hornets in a deal that became official yesterday. He has two years left on his current contract, with a $16.72MM salary for 2019/20.

In Biyombo, Charlotte picks up a shot blocker to replace Dwight Howard, who went to Brooklyn in the Mozgov deal. Biyombo’s contract is nearly in line with Mozgov’s, paying him $17MM in 2018/19, with a player option for the same amount the following season. Orlando breaks up a logjam at center that had existed since drafting Mohamed Bamba, while Mozgov becomes the third-string center in Orlando and probably won’t see much more playing time than he did in Brooklyn.

Chicago plays a minor role in the trade, creating modest savings by sending out Grant’s $2,639,314 salary in exchange for Stone’s non-guaranteed figure. The Bulls could be looking to shed any salary they can before their expected matching of the Kings’ offer sheet for Zach LaVine.

Stone’s guarantee date is August 1, posts Bobby Marks on ESPN Now, and the Bulls can increase their cap room to $16MM by letting him go and getting rid of Noah Vonleh‘s cap hold. Taking on Biyombo’s contract pushes the Hornets up to $120.3MM in salary with 14 guaranteed deals, just $3.4MM under the luxury tax.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nets, Hornets Finalize Mozgov, Howard Trade

JULY 6: The long-awaited deal between the Nets and Hornets has finally been completed, the Hornets announced today in a press release. Howard will now work on finalizing his buyout with the Nets, and has already lined up a deal with the Wizards. Meanwhile, Hamidou Diallo – the 45th overall pick in the draft – will be flipped from Charlotte to Oklahoma City.

JUNE 20: The Nets and Hornets are finalizing a deal that would send Timofey Mozgov to Charlotte and Dwight Howard to Brooklyn, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Hornets will also acquire a pair of second-round picks and cash considerations in the deal, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

In his full report on the trade, Wojnarowski provides more details on the picks involved in the deal, reporting that Charlotte will receive the No. 45 pick in this year’s draft, along with Brooklyn’s 2021 second-rounder.

The swap will allow the Nets to acquire a more productive center in the short term while also further clearing their cap sheet for the 2019 offseason. Howard’s contract is set to expire at that point, as are DeMarre Carroll‘s and Jeremy Lin‘s. By clearing Mozgov’s 2019/20 salary from their books, the Nets should have the flexibility to create two maximum-salary slots that summer.

As for the Hornets, they’ll save some money in the short term, since Mozgov’s $16MM salary for 2018/19 is more modest than Howard’s $23.82MM cap charge. While Charlotte is taking on the longer-term contract in the deal, the club will have far more breathing room below the projected luxury-tax line in ’18/19, and will pick up a few extra assets for its willingness to take on Mozgov.

The inclusion of Mozgov in the trade, one year after he was sent from the Lakers to the Nets, is interesting for a couple reasons. For one, the veteran had recently expressed dissatisfaction with his role – or lack thereof – in Brooklyn, suggesting that his relationship with head coach Kenny Atkinson had reached a “breaking point,” as Brian Lewis of The New York Post wrote this week. By moving him, the Nets should avoid a potential locker-room issue.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the general manager who is taking on Mozgov now is the one who initially signed him to his current four-year contract back in 2016. This is Mitch Kupchak‘s first roster move since being named the Hornets’ president of basketball operations and GM in the spring. His 2017 ouster in Los Angeles was largely attributed to the Lakers’ signings of Mozgov and Luol Deng in the summer of ’16, so this is a somewhat ominous start to his time in Charlotte.

Howard, meanwhile, will finally land in Brooklyn, which was his preferred landing spot several years ago when the former first overall pick was still a member of the Magic. Howard never made it to the Nets at that point in his career, but he’ll do so now, joining his fourth team in the last four years.

Howard is coming off a solid season for the Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 PPG and 12.5 RPG with 1.6 BPG in 81 contests. As for Mozgov, he fell out of the rotation early in the season, appearing in just 31 games for Brooklyn and averaging 4.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 11.6 MPG.

If the two teams intend to finalize the trade before the new league year begins on July 1, at least one more player would have to be included, since Howard’s cap hit for 2017/18 ($23.5MM) is substantially larger than Mozgov’s ($15.28MM), and Brooklyn doesn’t have the cap space to accommodate the difference. However, the Nets could create the necessary cap room after July 1, so there’s a good chance it won’t be finalized until after the July moratorium ends, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter).

Assuming the Nets and Hornets wait until the new league year to make the trade official, Brooklyn will become a cap-room team for 2018/19, losing access to its mid-level, bi-annual, and trade exceptions. Meanwhile, Charlotte would create a trade exception worth $7,819,725.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Teams Lining Up For No. 3 Pick If Kings Pass On Doncic

The Mavericks, Magic, Bulls, Knicks, and Clippers have expressed interest in moving into the Hawks’ No. 3 slot to select either EuroLeague guard Luka Doncic or possibly Texas center Mohamed Bamba if the Kings pass on Doncic at No. 2, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Those teams, along with the Nuggets, have also talked to the Grizzlies at the No. 4 spot. The Celtics don’t appear to be a serious contender for either pick, O’Connor adds.

Here’s some other tidbits from O’Connor’s story:

  • The Hornets’ willingness to deal Kemba Walker has waned since they reached an agreement with the Nets to trade Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov. The Cavaliers have shown interest in solving their point guard dilemma by acquiring Walker.
  • The Clippers could select Miami (Fla.) guard Lonnie Walker with one of their first-rounders and then ship him to the Hawks. The Clippers have the No. 12 and No. 13 picks in the lottery.
  • The Bucks are trying to package the No. 17 pick with point guard Matthew Dellavedova‘s contract. Dellavedova has two years and $19.2MM remaining on his deal. Milwaukee would trade down in the draft in that scenario and not exit altogether.
  • The Timberwolves have a strong interest in Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo with the No. 20 pick.
  • There are rumblings that the Bulls made a promise to draft Boise State shooting guard Chandler Hutchison. That would have to be at No. 22 unless they make a deal.
  • The Trail Blazers and Lakers are interested in IMG Academy shooting guard Anfernee Simons with their late first-round picks.
  • Kentucky small forward Jarred Vanderbilt, Latvian forward Rodions Kurucs, and Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham are believed to have received draft promises.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Bolden, Knicks, Mozgov

The Sixers don’t have room on their roster to accommodate all six picks that they own, so expect a trade or two by draft night, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia heads into Thursday’s draft with the 10th and 26th selections in the first round, plus Nos. 38, 39, 56 and 60 in the second round.

One option is trying to package both picks along with a player to move into the top five, Pompey notes. Another is a smaller deal to inch up a couple of spots and increase the odds of landing Villanova’s Mikal Bridges. The Sixers could also swing for the fences on Kawhi Leonard, offering the Spurs the 10th pick, Markelle Fultz and either Dario Saric or Robert Covington.

Pompey cites a comment made by former Cavaliers GM David Griffin this week that the Sixers have their eyes on someone projected to be among the first five selections, adding that Luka Doncic or Michael Porter Jr. would be a good fit in Philadelphia.
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
  • Philadelphia needs to make room on its roster for Jonah Bolden, a 2017 second-rounder who is expected to come to the NBA next season, Pompey adds in the same story. A 6’10” stretch four, Bolden played for Maccabi Tel Aviv this year in the Israel Premier League.
  • Mikal Bridges and Kentucky’s Kevin Knox would both be good fits for the Knicks, ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenburg tells Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Even though Kristaps Porzingis is expected to be sidelined until at least December with a torn ACL, Greenburg believes the priority should be to find a player who complements him. “You’re not winning today,” Greenberg said, “so I think you’ve got to approach it like, ‘Who will play best with Porzingis?’ You’ve got to give Porzingis something to get excited about. Who’s going to fit with him? I think Knox and Bridges can both.” He adds that the Knicks should avoid drafting another point guard, even if Trae Young or Collin Sexton is available at No. 9.
  • The agent for Timofey Mozgov has talked to the Nets about his client’s lack of playing time, but hasn’t demanded a trade or discussed a buyout, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. With two years and $33.7 million remaining on his contract, Mozgov is virtually untradeable, and Lewis points out that the Nets are unlikely to go through with another buyout while they’re still paying Deron Williams. “I don’t know any reason why I first lost my place in the starting five and then not playing even a minute,” Mozgov said. “But it’s the head coach’s decision and he is responsible for result. I tried to speak to [Kenny] Atkinson, but he was not able to give me an answer.”

Nets Notes: Mozgov, Sullinger, Trimble, G League

When the Nets acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Lakers last June, veteran center Timofey Mozgov was a piece the team had to accept for salary purposes, rather than a centerpiece of the deal. As such, it’s perhaps not surprising that Mozgov sounds a little frustrated with his role in Brooklyn.

As Net Income of NetsDaily relays, Mozgov expressed that frustration in a print interview with Russian newspaper Izvestia and in a conversation on Russia’s Radio Mayak. According to Mozgov, he’s not sure why he lost his spot in the starting lineup and fell out of the rotation early in the 2017/18 season. The 31-year-old started the first 13 games of the year for the Nets, but appeared in just 18 contests (8.7 MPG) the rest of the way.

While Mozgov didn’t express a desire to leave Brooklyn, he did say he hopes to receive more playing time going forward, either for the Nets or another team. Given where the Nets are in their rebuilding process, that probably isn’t likely — the club prefers to give its younger players those minutes up front, and would be unable to flip Mozgov to another team in a trade without attaching assets.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Jared Sullinger and Melo Trimble were among the participants at a veteran mini-camp hosted by the Nets this week, tweets Ben Stinar of Hoops Habit. Sullinger was linked to the Nets last summer, while Trimble was in camp with the Timberwolves in the fall.
  • In addition to working out some NBA free agents, the Nets are also taking a look at international players, according to a NetsDaily story. Nicolas Brussino, who spent time in the NBA over the last two seasons with the Mavericks and Hawks, is the most notable name on the list.
  • Will Weaver, an assistant on Kenny Atkinson‘s staff for the last two years, appears poised to become the head coach of the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Weaver and the NBAGL squad are nearing an agreement on a contract, per Begley. Former Long Island coach Ronald Nored joined James Borrego‘s staff in Charlotte last month.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Mozgov, Harris

There are a number of reasons why the Celtics didn’t make a dramatic move at the trade deadline, not least because there wasn’t a grandfather offer presented that would prompt them into action. As A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes, another motivating factor was preserving opportunities for young players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to play and develop.

We’ve got some big decisions in our franchise going forward with those young guys and and we love them all and they all bring something different to the table and we have a lot of confidence in them but yeah, bringing in other players can jeopardize their growth and development,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said.

While the article mentions Marcus Smart as another sub-23 young asset, it was Smart who was most discussed as a possible trade chip ahead of the deadline. Prior to that deadline, the Celtics insisted that they would only consider a significantly haul in exchange for the former lottery pick and obviously didn’t get one that impressed them.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors figure to be active in the buyout market, Josh Lewenberg of TSN tweets. The scribe also notes, in a second tweet, that general manager Bobby Webster reiterated that the franchise is willing to dip into the luxury tax next season.
  • With just one 20-minute showing under his belt so far this season, there’s no denying that veteran center Timofey Mozgov‘s role is limited. Despite the lack of playing time, however, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes that Mozgov and the Nets haven’t discussed a buyout.
  • The Nets view 26-year-old shooting guard Joe Harris as a potential part of their core, Zach Lowe of ESPN writes. In 54 games this season, Harris has averaged 10.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.