Timofey Mozgov, four years, $64 million, Los Angeles Lakers
The first signing of last summer is, perhaps, the worst. Former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak had Mozgov inked by 12:30 on July 1 for a truly stupefying amount of money. One season later, the deal looks just as bad as it did at 12:31.
On a per game basis, Mozgov averaged 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds. He shot 51.5 percent from the field, despite 79.4 percent of his shots coming within 10 feet of the basket. The team shut him down after 54 games to help the tanking process, but it’s tough to see a future for Mozgov in L.A..
Second rounder Ivica Zubac was better than expected at center, even if the expectation was nothing. There’s a backlog at power forward, which resulted in Larry Nance playing 16 percent of his minutes at center. Would it surprise anyone if he, or Julius Randle, end up playing 15 minutes a game at the position next season? We haven’t even gotten to Brandon Ingram’s inevitable move to power forward within the next two years.
If you need any more reason to hate this signing, Mozgov (and Luol Deng — more on him in a second), may swallow up enough cap space to put a roadblock in front of a potential Paul George signing. When a star that big is on the line, you find ways to work around roadblocks. But if it does get to that point, the Lakers will have to start throwing assets at teams to get them to take a contract this bad. That gets all the more harder if the team loses their pick this year, which would mean they also lose their pick in 2019 and can’t trade their picks in 2018 or 2020 because of the Stepian Rule.
It’s easy to see why Kupchak got canned.