Update: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
The Cavaliers can absorb Mozgov into a trade exception. The Grizzlies’ pick is protected 1-5 and 15-30 this year and next, 1-5 in 2017 and 2018 and unprotected in 2019. The Thunder’s pick is protected 1-18 this year and 1-15 the next two years and becomes two second rounders if not conveyed in that span.
All the caveats I mention below about pick protections: Ignore them. The Nuggets did very well for themselves.
The Cavaliers have been trying to trade for Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov since the offseason.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
The Cavaliers have the lesser of their own and Chicago’s first-round pick this year. They owe Boston a future first rounder, but they have incoming firsts from Memphis and Oklahoma City, acquired in this week’s Dion Waiters trade.
A lot of people thought Cleveland dealt its most tradable asset, Waiters, for wing help (Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith) that wasn’t as necessary as another big man. But that trade didn’t close the door on still seeking a center elsewhere. In fact, it may have even strengthened the Cavaliers’ position.
Two first-round picks, depending on their protections, are a steep price to pay for Mozgov. It sounds as if the Nuggets, who should be focused on rebuilding as their expensive roster is sinking from playoff contention, will be very happy with their return.
For the Cavaliers, it’s about winning now with a team that features LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Mozgov will ease the burden on Tristan Thompson at center and make Love’s life a little easier in the frontcourt.
Mozgov has a very reasonable $4.95 million team option for next season, so he’ll likely stick in Cleveland for a bit. He also has experience with Cavaliers coach David Blatt with the Russian national team, which could ease his adjustment to his soon-to-be new team.
Again, the exact protections on the draft picks could change perception, but the Cavaliers look a little desperate here. Maybe that’s the approach they need, though.