Russian center Timofey Mozgov, who played a reserve role in this year’s NBA title run by the Cleveland Cavaliers, signed a four-year deal worth $64 million with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mozgov, who turns 30 on July 16, averaged 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds for the Cavaliers in their championship campaign. The 7-foot-1 (2.16m) standout made only $5 million last season.
“Timofey is a player who has shown the ability to change the game at the defensive end and fills an area of need for us at the center position,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “We are very pleased to add him to our team.”
Mozgov hopes to follow in the legendary footsteps of a host of iconic Lakers centers who have won NBA titles, including Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Spain’s Pau Gasol, Wilt Chamberlain and 1950s star George Mikan.
In six NBA seasons, Mozgov has averaged 6.9 points and 5.0 rebounds for the Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets, who traded him to Cleveland last year for two first-round NBA Draft choices.
Mozgov played six professional seasons in Russia and helped his homeland to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.