Lakers News: Timofey Mozgov Thinks Role Will Change Next Year After ‘Hard’ 2016-2017 Season
Lakers Nation Podcast: Breaking Down Loss To Mavs, Luke Walton’s Rotation
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers did not waste any time in free agency last offseason, as just minutes after it began they inked a four-year, $64 million with former Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov.

Many criticized former Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak for the signing, but that is what the market was for centers like Mozgov under the new salary cap.

Mozgov began the season as the Lakers starting center, and played well as the Lakers got off to a 10-10 start. But as the Lakers play began to decline and the losses starting piling up leaving the Lakers on the outside looking in to the playoff picture, the Lakers focus shifted towards the development of the young players.

Because of that rookie center Ivica Zubac saw his minutes increase, and he eventually ended up in the starting lineup, while Mozgov wound up falling out of head coach Luke Walton’s rotation completely.

In his exit interview, Mozgov describe the 2016-17 as a hard one for him, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:

Despite being healthy, Mozgov didn’t play in 23 of the team’s final 25 games and was inactive in six of them. The Lakers coaching staff is well aware of what Mozgov is capable of though, so he believes his role will change going into next season:

Zubac will likely play for the Lakers Summer League team, and if he does well then he could get the first crack to be the team’s starting center going into training camp next year.

Mozgov added that he doesn’t think Zubac is quite ready to be a starting center, and if the coaching staff agrees then Mozgov could again begin the season as the team’s starter, before eventually being moved to a backup role when Zubac is ready to start.

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