Heading into this off-season, there were multiple players that the Cleveland Cavaliers had decisions to make, including about some of their free agents. At the start of NBA's new league year at 12:01 a.m ET Friday, it seems as though one of those free agents has already found another team. According to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, center Timofey Mozgov has signed a four-year, $64 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was an unrestricted free agent, so the Cavs were not able to match the offer, even though they most likely wouldn't have anyways.
Many may argue that that's very overpaid for a player like Timo, but after missing out on even a meeting for elite big-man Hassan Whiteside, one of LA's top targets during the start of free agency, they were still in need of a center. With the salary cap continuing to rise, players like Mozgov will receive much bigger contracts than most people think, handfuls of free agents both this off-season and next will be signing outrageous contracts that may not be worth that amount of money. Timo is just one example of one of the players who will benefit from the rising salary cap.
When the Cavaliers traded for Mozgov midway through the 2015-16 season, he was expected to be a key part of the team's front court, and he was just that. After averaging a career-high 10.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 25 minutes per game (46 games, 45 starts). But, for some unknown reason, Timo played himself out of the rotation late in the season and during their championship, Mozgov didn't play as key of a role for the team this past season. In fact, he averaged just 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 17.4 minutes per game (76 games, 48 starts).
In the 2015 playoffs, he averaged 10.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in 26.5 minutes per game (started all 20 games). Those numbers plummeted drastically in the 2016 postseason when he averaged just 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 5.8 minutes per game (13 games, no starts).
The first Cavalier to ditch the wine and gold for another team in free agency is officially Timo. Although we will miss his commercials, his accent, and his all-around play, along with his humor, good luck to Mozgov in LA.