The Cleveland Cavaliers signing Tristan Thompson to a five-year, $82 million on Wednesday night marked the end to a long, drawn out contact negotiation. It was also a negotiation that had major implications now and for later for a Cavs team with very open title window.
Less than a year from now, the Cavs will again have a big man entering free agency. That big man, of course, is Timofey Mozgov. Mozgov will be an unrestricted free agent next summer and according to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, early rumblings about Mozgov indicate that he could get a max deal next summer.
Early word in league/agent circles was that Timofey Mozgov could get max next summer. If not a max, after tonight he'll certainly come close— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) October 22, 2015
This really shouldn't be a surprise. Mozgov is a mobile center who protects the rim at an elite level and is likely in his prime. If Mozgov hits the open market next summer, the Cavs are going to be in tricky position. Not paying Thompson the max certainly helps the cap sheet, but with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and LeBron James (who also could be a free agent next summer) around, the Cavs won't necessarily have a ton of cap space. And with Mozgov being an unrestricted free agent, the Cavs lose some leverage in negotiations.
At least this is still a ways off.