A Wheeler’s Opinion: Why Letting Go of Mozgov Benefits the Lakers

And why they should let go of Luol Deng, too…

Timofey Mozgov is a complete waste of money for the Lakers. 
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?
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 

Conclusion:

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?  

ICYMI: Lakers Draft Results and the Trade with Nets for Brook Lopez

The Lakers entered the 2017 NBA Draft with 2 picks in the first round, the #2 and #28. By virtue of a few trades, they ended the night quite differently.
They started the night by selecting Lonzo Ball, guard out of UCLA with the #2 overall pick.
Catch the introductory press conference on Friday, 6/23 at 2:30pm PT. Livestream on Lakers.com or the Lakers app or Lakers Twitter/Facebook.
As a result of the Brook Lopez trade with the Nets, the Lakers acquired the draft rights to the #27 pick, Kyle Kuzma, forward out of Utah, sending D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to Brooklyn.
The #28 pick, acquired from Houston in the Lou Williams trade, was then traded to Utah for the #30 and #42 picks. The Lakers followed that up by selecting Josh Hart, guard out of Villanova, with the 30th pick and Thomas Bryant, center out of Indiana, with the 42nd pick.
Following the draft, GM Rob Pelinka addressed the media about the day’s action.

The LA Lakers Roster for 2016-17

The franchise team without Kobe Bryant is now a reality for the LA Lakers. 

With Tarik Black, Brandon Ingram and Yi Jianlian signings on same week of this month, the Lakers are now having fifteen players, which is the maximum number allowed by the NBA. As such, the Lakers have effectively filled their roster for the 2016-17.

roster

Position, Number, Player
F / C  28 Tarik Black
F 3 Anthony Brown
G 5 José Calderón
G 6 Jordan Clarkson
F 2 Luol Deng
G 9 Marcelo Huertas
F 14 Brandon Ingram
F / C 11 Yi Jianlian
C 20 Timofey Mozgov
F 7 Larry Nance Jr.
F 30 Julius Randle
G 1 D’Angelo Russell
G 23 Lou Williams
G / F 0 Nick Young
C 40 Ivica Zubac

Now that Kobe Bryant has retired, what will the Lakers’ roster look like without him? Click the answer  here  and more.

The 2016-17 Los Angeles Lakers season is also the first season in the post-Kobe Bryant era without Bryant and first since the 1995-96 season.

The Kobe Bryant-less roster tips off at Staples Center on May 26 against the Houston Rockets. 

I have been very emotional watching Kobe Bryant’s remaining games up to the last one left in his career. I do not know but I think it’s even harder to see the Lakers playing this time with no Kobe Bryant already.

The league will not be the same without him, but I am still a die hard Laker fan.

Related Link: 

The Kobe Bryant-less Lakers 2016-17 Schedule and Tips Off


Source: Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA’s official website

The Kobe Bryant-less Lakers Tip Off and 2016-17 Schedule

The Kobe Bryant-less roster tips off at Staples Center on October 26 against the Houston Rockets. Life without the Black Mamba is now a reality for the LA Lakers.

The No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram and No. 32 Ivica Zubac of the 2016 NBA Draft, Coach Luke Walton, Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng and Jose Calderon will make their debut in purple and gold.

Fourteen of their games will be nationally televised and we sure do not want to miss some of this season’s highlights:

Nov. 4 vs. GSW- Kevin Durant as a warrior debut at Staples Center.

Dec. 16 and PHI: fans of these two teams will finally see the No. 1 pick Brandon Ingram and No. 2 pick Ben Simmons competing for the first time in the regular season of the NBA.

Dec. 25 VS. LAC: Lakers will play at home on Christmas Day for the second straight year. But before that, the boys will be on the road for twelve days. Eastern Conference’s top three playoff seeds from last year: Cleveland, Miami and Toronto as their opponents will highlight their games away from Los Angeles.

Feb. 3 and BOS: NBA’s greatest rival teams collide. The two greatest franchises in the NBA as well. One of the Lakers’ annual Grammy road trip highlights will be this this game.

March 19 vs. CLE: LeBron and the defending champs come to Los Angeles for the only time.

We have pictured a roster without Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neil, etc.  I think we can picture one without Kobe Bryant.  But he will forever be missed.  Let’s go Lakers!

Check out the full Lakers 2016-17 Schedule HERE.

Source: Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA’s official website

Mozgov Agreed to Sign a Four-Year Deal with Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers made their first move in the off season by signing the russian center, Timofey Mozgov to a four-year, USD 64 million deal. Mozgov is part of the Cleveland Cavaliers team that won the 2016 NBA championship.

After averaging 10.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in the 2014-2015 season, he just averaged 5.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 17.4 minutes per game in the 2015-2016 season. With th resurgence of Tristan Thompson as the Cavs center and with the acquisition of Channing Frye in the trade deadline last season, the former Cavalier forward has fallen out of the Cavs front court rotation.

Lakers on the other hand are looking for a legit center for their team with a failed season of Roy Hibbert. They also drafted Ivica Zubac from Croatia with the 32nd pick in the 2016 NBA draft. With the addition of Mozgov to the Lakers, the team will be having a legit center who can score inside and grab the boards.

Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov out 10-14 days with shoulder strain

Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov will miss the next 10 to 14 days with a right shoulder strain, the team announced Friday.

Mozgov sat out the second half of Thursday’s win over the Bucks after suffering the injury sometime in the first half. He underwent an MRI on Friday that confirmed the strain.

“I just go on the bench and sit for a minute, and there was a pain,” Mozgov, who was unsure when the injury occurred, said after the game.

Mozgov entered Thursday’s game averaging 8.5 points on 51.6 percent shooting and 5.0 rebounds. He left the game with 2:42 remaining in the second quarter, finishing with two points and no rebounds in 11 minutes.

Irving, Love, Varejao and Mozgov are all expected to be ready at Cavs training camp

The Cleveland Cavaliers anticipate that Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov and Anderson Varejao will be ready for the start of training camp Sept. 29, Northeast Ohio Media Group has learned.

All four players are recovering from surgery. Irving (fractured knee cap) and Love (separated shoulder) will be active during camp, but on a limited basis. The Cavaliers will work the two in slowly and cautiously. The anticipation is that Love will be fully cleared with no limitations before Irving is given the green light.

Mozgov (knee scope) and Varejao (Achilles’ tendon tear) are not expected to be restricted once camp opens, but the team will closely monitor their involvement.

Mozgov did not play for the Russian National Team this summer, and that helped speed his rehabilitation progress. While Varejao has been jumping and dunking on the leg that gave out on him last December.