When it was first announced that the Los Angeles Lakers and Timofey Mozgov agreed to a 4-year, 64 million Dollar-contract, even die-hard Laker fans, including this basketball pundit on wheels, were surprised, shocked and some, angered by this stunning development.
Everyone was like: Have those guys inside the Lakers front office completely lost their minds?
With all due respect to the fans of Mozgov, the primary reason why that disgusting deal wasn’t worth the money that paid for Mozgov was that Mozgov wasn’t even averaging in double figures for almost his entire career with the lone exception with one of his two stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers back during the 2014-2015 season when he averaged 10 points per game.
He, of course, was traded off to the Denver Nuggets in the same season. His stint with the Purple and Gold during the 2016-2017 season was no different at all as he only averaged 7 points and 7 rebounds per game while playing for 54 of the 82 regular season games, starting 52 of those games- for 22 minutes of action. That, folks, was a waste of time and a roster spot for a team who has been in rebuilding mode a season after their vocal leader, Kobe Bryant, walked away from the game, for good.
Fast-forward to the off-season prior to the 2017-2018 season. The Lakers- right after picking Lonzo Ball as the 2nd pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, acquired Brook Lopez and the rights to Kyle Kuzma, the draft’s 27th pick from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for D’Angelo Russell AND Timofey Mozgov. FINALLY!
Okay! Calm yourselves down, folks. This basketball pundit used to cheer for D’Angelo Russell during his stint with the Lakers but his immaturity both on and off the court was one of the reasons why this trade needs to happen and this pundit was very much relieved that the Lakers did the right thing. Russell has the potential to evolve into one of the best point guards in the NBA but his unnecessary actions are hampering and hurting his growth.
As for Mozgov, the Lakers letting him go for Brook Lopez AND Kyle Kuzma- definitely a steal in this year’s draft, is a good deal especially for the part of the Lakers. Why?
- First and foremost, Brook Lopez is already an established big man in the NBA, having produced big numbers during his 9 seasons with the Nets franchise. His numbers during the 2016-2017 season saw him average 20 points and 5 boards per night. He will be a welcome addition to the starting line-up of Coach Luke Walton once the regular season kicks off.
- As mentioned, Kyle Kuzma is one of the best things that have happened to the Lakers this off-season. In fact, during the ongoing preseason games, Kuzma is in 8th place in points per game, norming 19 points. While the Lakers just lost another preseason game to the Utah Jazz, 105-99, that doesn’t change the fact that the future of the Lakers has thanks to the arrival of Kuzma.
- Simply put it this way: Even though Timofey Mozgov once scored 23 points and grabbed 29 rebounds against the Golden State Warriors during his stint with the Denver Nuggets back in 2014, Mozgov remains as one of the most overpaid and yet, underperforming big men the league has ever witnessed.
Letting go of Timofey Mozgov along with his hefty contract frees up a roster spot in the rotation of Luke Walton. This means that guys like Ivaca Zubac, Thomas Bryant and even journeyman forward, Corey Brewer will likely see their playing minutes increase come the regular season. Now, if the Lakers got rid of Timofey Mozgov, then it only means that they can also get rid of Luol Deng, right?