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Magic waive Mozgov, will reportedly “stretch” his contract

The Magic made a (somewhat) surprising roster move Saturday by waiving Timofey Mozgov

New York Knicks v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Orlando Magic opened up a roster spot Saturday afternoon by deciding to waive veteran center Timofey Mozgov. The move was announced via Twitter by Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman.

Mozgov was acquired by the Magic last summer (along with Jerian Grant) in a deal that sent Bismack Biyombo to the Charlotte Hornets. The Russian big man has been hampered by severe knee issues and did not appear in a game for the Magic last season.

Mozgov infamously signed a four-year, $64 million dollar contract with the Lakers in the summer of 2016. After one season, he was then traded to the Brooklyn Nets (‘17-’18). Mozgov was moved once again in the summer of 2018 to the Charlotte Hornets, who flipped him to the Magic for Biyombo one month later.

His contract was set to expire at the conclusion of the upcoming 2019-2020 season, but instead the organization opted to open up another roster spot (Orlando has 12 players currently under contract for next season, not including Chuma Okeke).

Josh Robbins (The Athletic) reported moments after the Mozgov news was announced that the Magic intend to use the stretch provision with the $16.7 million left on his contract.

As Bobby Marks (ESPN) notes above, the Magic could dip back below the luxury tax if they stretch Mozgov’s deal over the next three seasons. Keep in mind, official numbers regarding the Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross deals have not been released, but it’s been presumed that the team is dangerously close to exceeding the luxury cap for ‘19-’20.

This move also opens up the possibility that Orlando decides to bring back restricted free agent Khem Birch.

The NBA’s league mandated free agency moratorium period officially ended Saturday at noon, and the news that the organization intended to waive Mozgov came amidst the official announcements of the Ross, Aminu, Vucevic, and Carter-Williams signings.