The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off one of the first big moves in free agency last summer, stunning the basketball world by agreeing to a four-year, $64 million deal with center Timofey Mozgov. But a little more than eight months after coming to terms with the then-29-year-old, the Lakers have chosen to sit the high-priced big man for the rest of the season despite him being healthy, ESPN reported Tuesday.
According to the report, the organization shut down Mozgov to give younger players a chance to develop while also getting a better look at their inexperienced core. Mozgov, who has played just twice in the Lakers’ past 14 games, hasn’t done much in his first season in Los Angeles, averaging 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in a little more than 20 minutes a game.
It looks like rookie Ivica Zubac will be the big benefactor from the reported move. The 19-year-old had a breakout game Monday night against the Nuggets, finishing with a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds. Zubac has started the past three games for the Lakers and is averaging 14.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in March – his best monthly averages this season.