The Los Angeles Lakers entered free agency looking to make a big move or two and ended up making one of the first moves of the offseason. It didn’t take long for them to begin getting connected to Timofey Mozgov.
According to a report from Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers have agreed to a four-year, $65 million contract with Mozgov.
Mitch Kupchak made it clear that he was looking to bring in players who can fill a role rather than superstar caliber pieces. Hassan Whiteside was connected to the Lakers all offseason in rumors but chose not to meet with them. It became obvious that the Lakers would find another option very quickly.
Last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mozgov ended up playing in 76 games and starting 48 of them. He averaged 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. His numbers weren’t great, but the Lakers are betting that he will be a threat to be reckoned with now that he will have a larger role as a starter.
At 29 years old, Mozgov is in his prime and will still have a lot of good basketball to play throughout the entire contract that he signed.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of this deal is that the Lakers are bringing in a player who has championship caliber experience. He may not have been a major part of the Cavaliers’ team last season, but he still had the experience. Los Angeles has an incredibly young and talented roster and will need Mozgov to step up and share the experience and work ethic with the younger players.
Mozgov will immediately step into the starting lineup and will create a very dangerous unit with his teammates. Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and D’Angelo Russell will all be starters, and there is a good chance that Jordan Clarkson will be back as the starting shooting guard.
This contract has already been receiving a lot of criticism due to the high salary that Mozgov was given. He may not have been worth this kind of money last offseason, but the jump in cap space makes this deal reasonable.
It has set the stage for Dwight Howard to receive a huge contract. Hassan Whiteside is also about to receive a huge pay raise from either the Miami Heat or Dallas Mavericks if the current expectations hold up. Joakim Noah is also expected to receive a deal worth around $70 million over the next four years.
Needless to say, it will be intriguing to see what ends up happening with Mozgov this coming season. There will be a lot of pressure on his shoulders to live up to the big contract that he signed. He is more than ready to take on that pressure and will do so on one of the biggest stages in the NBA.
Los Angeles will likely be very happy with this deal over the next few seasons. Mozgov will continue to develop in a bigger role and he will be an above average starting center.
Luke Walton and the Lakers are hoping to get back into playoff contention over the next couple years. Mozgov is excited to be a part of the rebuilding process that the Lakers are going through and is hoping to speed it up. Kupchak is obviously confident that his new starting center can do just that.
Do you think that the Los Angeles Lakers made the right decision by signing Timofey Mozgov in free agency? Will he help speed up the Lakers’ rebuilding process and help get his team back into the playoffs over the next couple years? Let us know your thoughts on the signing in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh]