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Timofey Mozgov expects to contribute to Lakers next season

Things will change next season, Lakers center Timofey Mozgov said Thursday at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo.

Mozgov signed a four-year, $64-million deal as a free agent in June but was mostly ineffective in the Lakers’ 26-56 season. He played in 54 games and averaged 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20.4 minutes.

Tarik Black replaced Mozgov, in his seventh NBA season, in the starting lineup in February against the New York Knicks and Mozgov appeared in two more games before he was sidelined, despite being healthy, for the final 15 games to give way to the Lakers’ young players.

Center Ivica Zubac, a second-round pick in last year’s draft, eventually took over the starting role.

It was a difficult position to be placed in, Mozgov said.

“I’m the kind of guy that likes to play basketball,” Mozgov said. “It was not easy at all. Deeper in the season it was a bit more harder.

“Sometimes it’s not about you, it’s about the team.”

Mozgov expects to play next season and does not anticipate that Zubac will replace him in the starting lineup when the season opens.

“I’ve got a feeling,” he said, while declining to offer details from an earlier meeting with Lakers President Magic Johnson, General Manager Rob Pelinka and Coach Luke Walton.

Mozgov said that he would spend the off-season working on his three-point shot and footwork around the rim.


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