Might Heat pursue Nuggets center Mozgov?
DENVER — An intriguing big man has emerged on the trading block that the Miami Heat could go after.
League sources said the Denver Nuggets are looking to deal center Timofey Mozgov, who has been unable to get much playing time on a deep team and has an expiring contract. Mozgov is aware he could be moved by the Feb. 21 trade deadline.
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“It think it’s logical, you can see that, trading me,’’ Mozgov said in an interview with FOX Sports Florida. “I’m in my contract year. So if they can get something for me… I don’t think it would be a surprise for me (to be traded).’’
Miami is looking for a big man. It remains to be seen if the Heat could come up with an offer to entice the Nuggets for the 7-foot-1 Mozgov, making $2.79 million.
The Heat don’t have a lot of assets that they would trade. They have young point guard Norris Cole, who makes $1.11 million and would be hard to give up. The Nuggets are set at point guard with Ty Lawson and Andre Miller, but multi-team deals are always possible.
The Heat also could dangle a first-round draft pick they are due from Philadelphia that is lottery protected. It would go to Miami as soon as next June if the 76ers make the playoffs.
“I heard Miami is trying to find a big guy,’’ Mozgov said when asked about the Heat, who have had rebounding problems all season. “We’ll see. I don’t know (what might happen).’’
Mozgov, 26, is averaging just 2.7 points and 3.0 rebounds over 10.0 minutes. He averaged 5.4 points and 4.1 rebounds last season over 15.6 minutes.
“I feel bad for him because he’s good enough to be on an NBA court,’’ said Nuggets coach George Karl. “But I got four (post players) and I don’t think if we divided it by four, that is the smart thing to do.’’
The Nuggets rely on centers Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee and power forward Kenneth Faried. That leaves little time for Mozgov.
“It’s not easy,’’ said Mozgov, who played well in the Olympics last summer for his native Russia while winning a bronze medal. “Last season, I played… But I still work hard in practice.’’
Mozgov will be a restricted free agent this summer. If he’s not traded by the deadline, Denver could end up losing him for nothing.
Mozgov had some strong games last season, especially before the Nuggets acquired McGee in March and before Faried emerged by midseason as one of the NBA’s top rookies. He had 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in 30 minutes against New York, the team that traded him to Denver in February 2011.
Mozgov had 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes against the Heat in a 117-104 Denver win on Jan. 13, 2012. Mozgov’s plus-minus rating that night was plus-16, tied for the highest of any player in the game.
The Heat have seen up close what Mozgov can do. They can decide over the next month whether they might want him.