Mozgov Trade

Staff Articles, Trades

Question 1: What grade do you give the Cavs for this trade?

VC: Grade: C, but a B after the curve.

It is difficult to support a move that sends two first round picks away for a guy who’s averaging 6 points and 5 boards throughout his career. However, making a trade when you only have 3 big men on the roster is like taking calculus with the football team – you only feel good after looking at the curve. Mozgov should bolster the Cavs front court by eating up points and boards, but more importantly by eating up minutes. Plus if he is still hungry, there’s plenty to eat in the locker room now that Dion is gone…

BD: Grade: A

Who else were we going to get with two first rounders that are going to be in the late 20s? I think we got the best available big for the assets we were willing to give up (or have to give up). The starting line up is now Irving, Shumpert, James, Love, and Mozgov. I think it’ll be hard for wing players and guards to score, and you can hide Irving on defense. We are still a post defender short. Love has no interest in over exerting himself on defense. Mozgov is a rim protector. Rim protector doesn’t always equal post defender. Hopefully our moves intrigue Emeka Okafor or Jermaine O’Neal to join the cause.

RM: Grade: B

Mozgov is a nice fit with the Cavaliers and fills the Cavs biggest need.  And seriously, the Cavs were getting desperate.  At a few inches under six feet, I would’ve been one of the more fearsome rim protectors on the Cavs.  Anyways, Mozgov should immediately become the starting center for the Cavs, allowing Tristan Thompson to come off of the bench and give the Cavs some front-court depth.  Two 1st round draft picks is a pretty steep price for a player of Mozgov’s caliber.  But the Cavs are in win-now mode, and this trade needed to be made.

JR: Grade: B-

He is a solid rim protector that can move and guard players in space.  The Cavaliers most glaring weakness was their interior defense, as they are currently the second worst in the NBA (T-Wolves) in opponent’s FG% around the rim.  Mozgov may have been among the best available centers to acquire in a trade and so I am glad we were able to acquire him in favor of a majority of the other names that were being floated around.  He is relatively young at 28 and can concentrate most of his energy on the defensive end when we are fully healthy. Nevertheless, I do not think he magically solves all of our defensive problems, but I am hoping he gets us to a league-average team defensive level.

KR: Grade:  B-

Mozgov may not be much above-average as far as NBA big men go, but he may have been the most available.  With that being said, it’s hard to give the Cavs a poor grade for filling a gaping hole in the rotation since Anderson Varejao’s untimely injury.  Mozgov has a strong relationship with Coach David Blatt and adds significant depth.  The Nuggies had all of the leverage in this deal.

It was love at first sight....

It was love at first sight….

Question 2: What grade do you give the Nuggies for this trade?

VC: Grade: A+

I imagine the entire Nuggets front office is eating steaks right now. Even the guys that don’t like steaks are joining in, just because it feels right. Trading a backup center for two first round picks is like trading a bag of celery for a fruit roll up at lunch in the 4th grade. The Nuggets won’t contend for the West in the near future (even if George Karl came back), and so it is wise for them to stockpile picks. Even the vegetarians are probably ordering steaks.

BD: Grade: A

I think Denver is starting to realize that it might be a viable strategy to let other teams’ players grow old, because if you don’t have elite players, or an elite team (Spurs), you’re not winning in the west. Gallinari is never going to be the player that was the centerpiece of the Carmelo Anthony trade. Nate Robinson’s contract is obscene. The Nuggies can trade Afflalo to some other contender for a 1st rounder down the road. It’s time to collect young assets and try to develop them, and wait for Tim Duncan to retire in 2021.


RM: Grade: A

The Nuggies didn’t get any players back in this trade, but it was the right move for them.  Denver isn’t making the playoffs in the West this year, and they must start thinking about assets  for the future.  Two first-rounders for Mozgov is quite a haul for the center, considering the Celtics only pulled in one first-rounder for Rajon Rondo.  The Nuggets played hard-ball on this trade with the Cavs for a few months, and in the end, it payed off for them.

JR: Grade: A

The Nuggies had the leverage in this trade and getting two future first rounders is a good foundation for building for the future.  With being close to the middle and lower tier of the West, the Nuggies must rebuild and start to build their future around the younger players that they get.  To get better in the NBA, especially in the brutal West, it often means getting worse and then slowly building around a few players (Gary Harris is not one of them, however).  Denver has to be smarter and hit on its draft picks in order to contend in a few years.

KR: Grade:  A+++

The Western Conference is a tough place to be in.  If you aren’t at or near the top, you’re best off tying an anchor to your leg and sinking to the bottom.  Getting two 1st round picks, albeit protected picks, to sink faster sounds like an impossibly awesome deal.  Since the Cavaliers are fighting for this season and the Nuggies are fighting for several seasons in the future, this was a perfect trade for them.

On a side note, since Mozgov was recently quoted as “immovable”, I wonder what the initial trade offer from the Cavs was?


“The Soviet Slasher”

Question 3: Are the Cavaliers now the favorites in the East?

VC: The Cavs cannot be considered the favorite in the East. While they have the most star power of anyone in the conference, they still have many gaping holes. However, their recent trades make them better equipped for a long playoff run.  No team should be considered the favorite in the same week that they lost to the 76ers, even if they traded for a 26 year old Moses Malone and Moses himself.

Mozgov with BAE

Mozgov with BAE

BD: There are 22 starters on an NFL team, and 53 players on the active roster. There are 9 starters on an MLB team, and 25 players on the active roster. There are 6 starters on an NHL team, and 21 players on the active roster. There are 5 starters on an NBA team, and 13 players on the active roster. You are automatically a champion contender in basketball if you have the best player in the game. In 2007, LeBron single handedly took an abysmal Cavs team to the NBA finals. The team currently around LeBron is as good as any of his Heat champion teams. Continuity is our biggest opponent. If this team doesn’t gel; if this team doesn’t find it’s identity, and it’s players don’t realize their roles; we won’t win jack. If we can figure those things out (AND FAST FOR THE LOVE OF GOD) we’re as good as the Raptors, Wizards, Bulls, and Hawks. (Actually we’re better, because LeBron is better than Lowry, He’s better than Wall, he’s better than Butler (Chicago’s best player), and he’s better than whoever the Hawks have?)

RM:  No, but it’s pretty close.  Once the Cavs are healthy, I think they’ll have the best starting five in the East.  They also have the best player on the planet so they’ll always be close to being the favorites in the East.  I think Atlanta will start to drop off as the season continues and Toronto and Washington will hover around the top. However, I think Chicago is just too deep for them not to be considered the favorites.  This trade, though nice, doesn’t change the fact that Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol are playing out of their minds.

JR:  I would not go that far.  I believe that you have to put the Bulls as the most complete team in the East right now.  Their frontcourt I think can still dominate us and their bench is much deeper.  The Hawks are beating quality opponents in the West, so they also cannot be taken lightly.  This trade helps us move into contention for one of the top seeds in the East, rather than getting the 5 seed like where we are sitting now.  The Wizards and Raptors are also legitimate contenders and have their own respective advantages over the Cavs at the moment.   All in all, the move helps but does not make us the clear favorite by any means.

Mozgov sometimes is on the poster of others dunking over him, but he shows here that he can do the same right back.

KR:  No.  Not even close.  We have no idea how well these additions will fit into their roster, though they look promising on paper.  The Hawks were #1 in ESPN’s Power Rankings and the Chicago Bulls have to be the favorites if/when (but more likely, if) healthy.  I need more time to evaluate the team before going as far as saying we are the favorites in the East.  The moves certainly improve our chances of developing into that team, though.



Staff Articles, Trades


Note: This post was written before news of the Cavs acquiring Timofey Mosgov from the Nuggets earlier today. 

Question 1:

Do you like this trade for the Cleveland Cavaliers?

VC: Cleveland had to make a deal. While Dion is talented, his skill set has been duplicating Kyrie’s efforts for the last few seasons. Furthermore, Dion treats defense like a artwork – sometimes its brilliant, but sometimes its…abstract. With two ball dominant players like Uncle Drew and King James, a defensive minded shooting specialist like Iman Shumpert will be a better fit for the Cavs. While I think the move is a logical one for the Cavs, I will miss the sensational Dionisms that result from Dion rare genetic combination of lackluster work ethic, unwavering confidence and unpredictable obliviousness.

BD:    The NBA is getting a new TV deal. Revenue for the League is about to reach astronomical levels. With revenue going up, so will the salary cap. The salary cap right now is a little over $63 million. Some smart guy estimates say that the cap could jump up to $88.8 million. The point being, every team in the league is in a weird situation where just about everyone will have cap space next year. There will be a few teams like Cleveland (where if all goes well) that might not have any space or flexibility because they’ll have three max guys plus expensive role players in Thompson, Varejao. The money and assets involved in this trade could really benefit Cleveland; if Shumpert stays healthy and the front office refuses to make any panic moves, this trade is fantastic.

Cleveland did give up the best player. That is a fact. Dion’s field goal percentage in 2012-2013 (his rookie year) was only .5 percent lower than JR Smith’s. 2012-2013 happened to be the same year JR won NBA 6th man of the year. Granted, Dion played almost 1000 minutes less than JR that year, JR was benefiting from Carmelo Anthony double teams. Last season both players played over 2000 minutes and JR only played about 400 more than Dion. Dion shot 43.3% from the field as compared to JR’s 41.5%. JR does offer far better outside shooting. He has a 37% career 3pt field goal percentage as compared to Dion’s 32.8%. Shumpert’s offensive numbers aren’t comparable to Dion’s or Jr’s…

I think that if JR can be motivated (who knows how that works?) he can be a viable three point option. Kyrie can drive and kick, LeBron can drive and kick, Kevin Love and post up and bail., and JR should be reliable to hit the three in a way Dion was not. JR might even be convinced to play the 6th man role that he thrived in in 2012-2013. I was too lazy to find an actual statistic on our bench scoring, but I’m pretty sure it’s bad. It certainly isn’t championship level. There is no reason that a fully motivated JR couldn’t help our bench. So the big question is: What if JR can’t be motivated to play basketball? (He’s contract has a player option for 2015-2016 at $6 million)

A non-motivated JR is o.k. in my book. Shumpert will be asked to play the role Dion couldn’t, wouldn’t fill. 3 and D. Shump is hitting 34.8% in 24 games from the three line. 35% is not exactly what you want to see out of your “3 and D” guy, but the Cavs are a far better team than the Knicks, so it’s reasonable to think Shump’s looks are going to be wide open. 35% tells me that he at least has range, and I’m sure Iman’s practice is going to be “guard LeBron” and “shoot from the 3 line 1000 times”. Repeat. Shumps biggest benefit is that LeBron no longer has to guard the team’s best wing/ scorer every night. That’s Iman’s job now. Adding Shumpert gives the Cavs a little defensive prowess. Any line-up consisting of James, Marion, and Shumpert is going to be a line-up that isn’t about to give up a whole lot of buckets.

My last long winded point is this: If the Cavs end up in scenario 2 where Shumpert is 3-ing and D-ing, while JR is studying Lance Stephenson ear blowing techniques; JR’s contract is somewhat like an expiring deal, and we have picks! When the cap goes up in 2015-2016, JR’s $6 million due is not going to be roughly 10% of the cap limit that it is now. If my team is rebuilding, and Cleveland calls me asking me for my big man, I’m at least going to listen. If I’m the Denver Nuggies (who are getting railed in the West) why do I say no the Cavs in a trade involving Mozgov, JR Smith (who has spent a lot of time in Denver), and draft picks? The Cav’s have rights to 1st rounders in the next two drafts. I really think this trade improves our overall talent, it improves our roster flexibility, and it keeps us flexible in trade opportunities. I’m salivating at the thought of Irving, Shumpert, James, Love, and Mozgov.

RM:  At first I really didn’t.  I’m still not a huge fan, because I feel like the Cavs gave up their biggest trade asset without filling their biggest need (a big man).  However, I think Iman Shumpert can develop into the Cavs shooting guard of the future.  I also like the idea of stockpiling draft picks, which will certainly come in handy in filling out the back end of the roster.  If the Cavs turn around and secure a defensive big man with one of their picks/trade exceptions/J.R. Smith, I’ll be super happy.  So in conclusion, I guess I’m cautiously optimistic.

JR: Yes, yes, yes…..

Dion Waiters is currently shooting 26% from 3 point range and can’t even hit any open 3-pointers.  Even when he tries on defense, he is still not good.  There was just no way Dion was ever going to fit in with this team right and play up to his potential in the role that he was trying to fulfill.  Sure it would have been nice to flip Dion for a much needed big man, but getting two guys who are upgrades along with a protected 1st round pick from OKC makes this a win for the Cavs.  See my answer on “who won the trade” for my discussion on Shumpert and JR.

KR: Very much so.  What’s wrong with trading Dion Waiters III for his older brother, Dion Waiters II, J.R. Smith AND Iman Shumpert?  J.R. Smith might just be trade bait, but Shumpert is a huge defensive upgrade on the wing.  Shump is even serviceable on offense, and won’t piss and moan if he doesn’t get the ball because most importantly, neither think they are better than Kyrie Irving.  I think this move will pay off dividends, especially if Smith is packaged in a deal for a solid rim protector.  At the very least, the Cavs received two players who are hungry for playoff basketball (and at least one who is interested in playing defense).

I wish Gary “the Oven Mitt” Neal was available, but since he’s not, we might as well take advantage of the next best thing!


Question 2:

Do you see the Cavs making additional moves after this trade?

VC: Cleveland will be aggressively fielding offers until the trade deadline. The current roster only has 3 players who are 6’9’’ or taller – and one of them happens to be named Brendan Haywood. To put that into perspective, the Kentucky Wildcats have 6 players who are 6’9’’ or taller – and none of them happen to be named Brendan Haywood. Cleveland is desperate for a rim protector, but unlike Kentucky, they can’t just recruit one. Maybe they will just wait for Dellavedova to hit puberty and grow 8 inches?

BD:  We need to. We need some big men. We still have over $6 million in trade exceptions, and we have draft picks. The Cavs have the assets to grab a player. There are also a few free agents out there. The Cavs could sign centers/ and or forwards: Andris Biedrins, Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum, Emeka Okafor, Jermaine O’neal, Gustavo Ayon, Shane Battier, Hasheem Thabeet, Vitor Faverani, Aaron Gray, Bernard James, Byron Mullens. Half of those players probably can’t actually play basketball anymore, and the other half are unproven and raw. The point is, we could grab a Greg Oden at a veterans minimum, and have him available for 5-7 minutes of rim protection a night.

I’ve been playing around with the trade machine as well… JR Smith, Brendan Haywood, and our trade exceptions for Keith and Lou can be traded for… ROY HIBBERT. If the Lakers ever get their heads out of their asses (they won’t) We could trade Haywood’s contract and picks for Ed Davis and Robert Sacre! Haywood and some trade exceptions, with picks can nab us Timofey Mozgov. We can get Timofey without trading JR!! Which would leave room for a Jermaine O’neal signing. The Cavs need that big.

RM:  Hopefully.  The trade certainly makes us better, but the gaping hole in the front court still exists.  If the Cavs really do want to win a championship this year, this move needs to be followed up with the addition of a big man.  Hopefully the Cavs don’t end up settling for someone like Samuel Dalembert or Bobby Sacre, but at the very least, even those guys are true centers.  Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, though solid, are not.

JR:  They definitely need to, that’s for sure.  We are easily one of the best offenses when our Big 3 is all on the floor, but the defense is just a different story.  Sources have said that the Cavs intend on using the OKC pick they just got in a trade for a big man.  I don’t think its a matter of if we will do it, it’s just for who and how soon.  The Knicks recently waived Dalembert so he could help I guess. We remain highly interested in Mosgov and Koufos but both of these teams still seem to remain reluctant to trade them.  I am not sure what players would even sweeten/seal the deal for them that we would trade.  It’s obvious we need a rim protector and I just hope we do something soon so that constant speculation and overwhelmingly average centers’ name dropping are things of the past.

KR:  I certainly hope so.  J.R. Smith has a desirable contract that could be packaged with any combination of Cleveland’s three first round draft picks in 2015 (from MIA and MEM).  With no rim protector anywhere near Quicken Loans Arena, does this team have any chance at making the NBA Finals this season?  Timofey Mozgov is a name that keeps popping up in trade rumors, but the Nuggies seem unwilling to deal the 7’1 Russian center.  Whatever happens, I pray that we don’t end up with Robert Sacre as our big “game-changing” acquisition by the trade deadline.


Question 3:

Which team won this trade?

VC:   My first thought is the Knicks – anytime you can add a guy like Lou Amundson to your roster, it’s a win. But in reality, the Thunder have to be excited to bring in a guy with Dion Waiters’ potential without having to get rid of Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb or Perry Jones III. The Thunder easily add the most talent to their roster – but it will be interesting to see how Dion fits in with a superstar small forward and ball dominant scoring point guard…

Meanwhile, the Cavs have become a more complete team. A rejuvenated Shumpert will find his niche as a perimeter defender on  a team that has had inconsistent play at the position. Furthermore, they brought back some trade pieces that will help them make a move for a rim protector.

BD: The second I heard about the Cavs trade, I was excited for our team. I feel like we’re one step closer to finishing the puzzle that is building a championship contender. The Cavs made a solid trade, but I think Dion is the best asset and player involved in the trade. If Dion works in OKC’s rotation, the Thunder added a viable NBA player for a first round pick that won’t ever be in the lottery. If Dion doesn’t work, there are plenty of rebuilding teams that would love to give Dion a chance to shine on their team for the cost of an aging rotation veteran or draft picks.

RM:  All three teams took calculated steps forward through this trade, but let’s go with Oklahoma City. The Knicks cleared some cap space by getting rid of J.R. Smith, but even with J.R. Smith, they were projected to have enough space to sign a max level player.  The Cavs added a nice [grind]piece in Iman Shumpert, but despite all of his luggage, Dion Waiters was a solid young prospect. The Thunder meanwhile, added Waiters to their roster without giving up any of their rotation players.  Waiters isn’t quite as good as Reggie Jackson, but he will serve as a nice insurance policy if the Thunder decide to not resign Jackson.  Plus, we can consider ourselves winners when Dion inevitably takes more shots than Durant and Westbrook combined.  Just kidding. Kinda.

JR: I believe this trade was a win for all 3 teams involved, but feel that the Cavs were the biggest winners in this trade. Shumpert and JR are upgrades in their own respective ways over Waiters and we got rid of dead weight in Amundson and Kirk.  Shumpert is the 3 that the Cavs need,who is a lengthy wing defender and attacks the basket and hits open 3’s better than Dion.  JR is a better shooter and scorer than Dion and has his moments where he catches fire, which could prove to be valuable come playoff time.  He is also just two years removed from his 6th man of the year season.

Taking a gamble on Waiters is one definitely worth taking for OKC, especially considering they got him for basically just a protected 1st rounder.  With McGary and Huestis already on the roster, OKC may not have even had a roster spot for someone they would have drafted in that spot.  OKC could use an upgrade at the 2 spot, considering Andre Roberson cannot knock down any 3 pointers .  Sure, Dion is no James Harden by any means, but he adds a potential spark for OKC.

New York is just shredding contracts and trying to build for the future.  Sure they can offer a max contract to someone this summer, but they most likely won’t get their first, second, third, or maybe even fourth choice for this, forcing them to overpay someone who probably doesn’t deserve it (sound familiar?).  It is possible the Knicks only retain Hardaway and Anthony for next year, which is crazy to think.

KR:  The Oklahoma City Thunder.  Conceding Lance Thomas and a protected first round pick (that they won’t have roster space for) for a sixth man with a huge upside is a steal.  Considering Thomas’ limited role on the team, they essentially gained a valuable role player for free.  Most importantly, they retained Reggie Jackson.  With Jeremy Lamb and Dion Waiters on the same team, expect Sam Presti to move one of the two for another draft pick or role player in some sort of package deal.  It might be Dion when he claims he’s better than Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

I almost considered the Cavaliers winners of this trade, solely because they did not acquire Kendrick Perkins in this trade.  However, the Knicks could prove to be the ultimate winner, depending if the cap space this opens allows them to sign a top free agent in the summer.  But for now, it’s clear the Thunder have benefited the most from this deal.

Big shout out to NBA Pictures/Vines on Twitter for making the pictures featured in this post!