The Brooklyn Nets had to pay a steep price to acquire D’Angelo Russell. Not only did they have to let go of nine-year Net Brook Lopez, they had to acquire long-term salary. That salary belongs to Timofey Mozgov, who has failed spectacularly to live up to his deal.
The Brooklyn Nets’ big man rotation is in shambles. Going into the season, that was always going to be an issue. Right now, it is the team’s most glaring problem.
Tyler Zeller has outperformed expectations and has become the team’s starter. That is both good news and troubling news.
It is obviously good news that a player is able to outperform what was expected of him after the former North Carolina Tar Heel signed a minimum deal in the offseason.
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However, it is grim that he has become the main man in the big man rotation. That was supposed to be the job of Timofey Mozgov, who the Nets owe $48 million to over the next three years.
Mozgov has been awful this year, though. He has only provided five points and four rebounds in 15 minutes per game. The Nets are four points better when he is off the floor and the Russian center is logging a well-below-average PER (player efficiency rating) of 11.7.
Worse yet, Kenny Atkinson has found Mozgov to be unplayable. He is no longer the starter and has been removed from the regular rotation.
Zeller, Trevor Booker and Jarrett Allen now get the minutes at center. As they should. The trio, despite making less than Mozgov combined, give the team a better chance to win.
The Nets must find a way to rid the team of Mozgov. His contract prevents the team from further improving in free agency.
If the Nets can avoid giving up any draft picks, than any deal that rids the cap of his albatross deal is necessary.