As the Los Angeles Lakers second-highest paid player, Timofey Mozgov would appear to be a lock for large amounts of playing on paper.
Instead he sat down the stretch of the season, a $64 million man racking up DNP-CD’s as the Lakers’ season came to a close.
Mozgov said he wanted to play, but he wasn’t going to say what he spoke about with Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton and the team’s front office in his exit interview.
"Why do you guys always want details? Sometimes the thing you talk with coach, it’s between us,” Mozgov said, before acknowledging he plans to be back in the team’s rotation next season.
“I’m the kind of guy who likes to play basketball,” Mozgov said. “I think it will change... I got a feeling.”
But as for whether he’d been given any clarity on how he had to re-gain his rotation spot, Mozgov gave a simple “no,” but he did have jokes about what he wanted to improve over the summer.
“I’m going to work on my 3-point range,” Mozgov said, before getting serious and explaining he wanted to work on his footwork and his finishing around the rim in the off-season.
The veteran also told the media he was impressed with rookie Ivica Zubac’s progress from going to the D-League to ending the season as the Lakers’ starting center, and told the media he hoped he’d been able to help that growth.
“I think I did a good job, but Zu will come in here, why don’t you ask him?” Mozgov said, although he’s not certain the rookie is ready to take his spot in the rotation.
“I don't think Zu is ready to be starting,” Mozgov said.
Whether or not the Lakers agree is another matter.
Mozgov additionally told the media he plans to play for Russian national team this summer. What seems less certain is whether or not he’ll do the same when he returns to Los Angeles in the fall.
All stats per NBA.com. and Basketball-Reference.com. All quotes transcribed via Periscope. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here, or listen to our thoughts on the season below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.