To the dismay of their fans, both the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets pulled the trigger on a trade that was made official upon the conclusion of the 2017 NBA Draft. D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov were sent to the Nets, while the Lakers acquired Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in the draft.
The thought process behind the Lakers decision was frank; they departed with Russell amidst personnel concerns and were able to depart with Mozgov’s questionable contract. The trade also made sense for the Nets, as they acquired a young asset and departed with Lopez a year shy of free agency while acquiring a starting center.
In a rare occurrence, it seems as though both sides of this trade were winners, both looking ahead towards their future. During Mozgov and Russell’s introductory press conference with the Nets, Mozgov started that he is ready to contribute to the team in any way, via Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders:
Timofey Mozgov: “I’m the guy who does whatever coach tells me to do. If he tells me shoot at half court, I’ll shoot at half court.” #Nets
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) June 26, 2017
Although Mozgov was benched throughout the second half of the season with the Lakers, he is still a capable defender in the NBA. His verticality and ability to alter shots can be huge from the Nets, who struggled immensely on defense last season.
With Lopez now with the Lakers, Mozgov enters training camp with a real shot to capture the starting spot on the Nets. Although they finished the 2016-17 season with a dismal 20-62 record, the Nets are trending in the right direction and have added to their foundation.
He averaged 7.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks in 20.4 minutes per game while shooting 51.5 percent from the field. Entering the offseason, Mozgov stated that he was displeased with his role with the Lakers, believing he deserves a starting opportunity.