Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs Rumors: Cleveland Should Remain Aggressive in Pursuit of Timofey Mozgov

DENVER, CO - APRIL 12: Timofey Mozgov #25 of the Denver Nuggets handles the ball against the Utah Jazz on April 12, 2014 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2014

The Cleveland Cavaliers have clearly been the big winners this offseason, but they are not finished building the best roster possible.

With the additions of LeBron James and Kevin Love, this is clearly one of the best teams in the NBA. However, this squad has its sights on a title, and anything less will be a disappointment. As a result, the Cavaliers have to keep making any move that could take them a step closer to a championship.

One potential move on the table is a trade for Denver Nuggets center Timofey MozgovAlexander Chernykh of Sports.ru first reported a potential move earlier this month based on an interview head coach David Blatt gave to Russia News Agency ITAR-TASS:

While this seemed unlikely to be completed, ESPN's Brian Windhorst explained on ESPN Cleveland radio Tuesday that the deal is still being discussed.

James Herbert of CBS Sports breaks down both the pros and cons of such a deal:

Of course the Cavs would want Mozgov. He's 7-foot-1 and skilled, coming off by far the best season of his career. It would be tricky to work out a deal, though. Mozgov is making $4.65 million this coming season and he has a $4.95 million team option the year after that. The Nuggets don't really have any reason to dump him for a package of say, Brendan Haywood and Cleveland's several unguaranteed contracts.

The Cavaliers do have a few non-guaranteed contracts, which came in a trade with the Utah Jazz earlier in the offseason. Windhorst explained that John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy all could be headed out as part of any Mozgov deal.

While Cleveland will have to sweeten the package in order to complete a deal, it makes sense for the team to want this to happen.

Blatt coached Mozgov with the Russian national team and is familiar with what he can do on the court. The big center also recently finished his best year in the NBA, averaging 9.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks 21.6 minutes per game. He played in all 82 games after failing to top 45 in any of his first three years in the league.

With a player efficiency rating of 16.8, Mozgov was third on the Nuggets behind just Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried.

Throughout his career, the Russian center has proven to be a quality defender who can keep other big men from backing him down in the post. He is a quality rim protector when given the chance and can also rebound with the best in the league.

Most importantly, he would be a good fit with the Cavaliers, as CBS Sports' Chris Towers argued after hearing the rumors:

As much talent as Cleveland added this summer, the team is still relatively weak in the low post. Love is a below-average defender, which will leave Anderson Varejao even more exposed. The team will need someone else capable of coming in to play center without losing much.

Additionally, the fact that Varejao is averaging just 36.5 games played over the past four seasons should force the team to add a safety net.

This is where Mozgov could be perfect. He would be solid either off the bench or as a starter in a limited offensive role. He knows exactly what he contributes to a team and would certainly not overstep his boundaries as the star players light up the scoreboard.

At this point, the only question is whether the Nuggets would be willing to make a deal. However, first-round pick Jusuf Nurkic is a similar player who can quickly fill the spot Mozgov would leave behind. With JaVale McGee still on the roster, the team will be fine making this type of move.

This makes a move possible, which means the Cavaliers have to keep working to somehow complete the deal.

 

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