Timofey Mozgov Says He Needs More Playing Time from Nets or Another Team

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2018

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 11:  Timofey Mozgov #20 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during a game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on April 11, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets center Timofey Mozgov didn't see much playing time with the Brooklyn Nets last season, and he told both Izvestia and Radio Mayak that he wasn't happy with the lack of playing time. He expects to play more in the 2018-19 season, even if it's for another team (h/t Nets Daily): 

"I have not broken anything. What influenced [Kenny Atkinson's] decision ... for me, it remains a mystery. I don't know any reason why I first lost my place in the starting five and then not playing even a minute. But it's the head coach's decision, and he is responsible for result.

"I tried to speak to Atkinson, but he was not able to give me answer. Anyway, I'm confident. Just want to play for Brooklyn or any other NBA team. I tried to talk to him, but I did not succeed in drawing out something intelligible."

In 31 games last year, Mozgov averaged 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in just 11.6 minutes per contest.

By the end of the year, the Nets were starting rookie Jarrett Allen at center, likely in an effort to give him experience, as he's one of the team's building blocks for the future. Additionally, Mozgov had to compete with Jahlil Okafor for backup minutes, though Okafor appeared in just 26 games for the team off the bench.

While Okafor may not be back, Mozgov remains under contract for next year at $16 million and for the 2019-20 season for $16.7 million, per Spotrac.com.

It's unlikely the Nets would find any takers for that contract—the Los Angeles Lakers had to essentially give up D'Angelo Russell just to get the Nets to take on Mozgov's deal in the first place—so barring the team using the stretch provision to waive him and spread out the payments of his contract over five years (at around $6.5 million per year), Mozgov isn't going anywhere.

"The decision remains with Brooklyn," he noted. "Whatever they decide, so be it. It would be nice if circumstances developed in such a way that I could play. In Brooklyn or for another NBA team. This is the only thing I need."

Regardless, Movgov doesn't plan to remain unprepared, whether in a bench role next season in Brooklyn or on another team.

"I know what to do and how to behave," he said. "In addition, you don't ever forget that you are a professional athlete. It does not matter if I play 48 minutes or I do not play at all, I always have to be in optimal shape to be at any time ready to help the team." 

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