(Reuters) - The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired Russian center Timofey Mozgov in a trade with the Denver Nuggets, the National Basketball Association teams said on Wednesday.
The Cavaliers, who also received a 2015 second round draft pick, paid a steep price for the seven-foot-one Russian as they sent two protected 2015 first round picks to Denver, the team said in a statement.
Mozgov, in his fifth season, has averaged 8.5 points per game this season with Denver along with a career-best 7.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 25.6 minutes per game.
As part of the deal, Cleveland will send a future pick they own from a 2013 trade with the Memphis Grizzlies and another first-rounder acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this week.
By acquiring Mozgov, the Cavaliers hope to fill a gaping hole in their starting lineup after losing Anderson Varejao last month to a season-ending torn Achilles tendon.
The deal also reunites Mozgov with Cavaliers head coach David Blatt, who was the center’s coach on the Russian national team that won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Mozgov, who made his NBA debut with the New York Knicks in 2010 before being traded to Denver later that season, has averaged 6.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 17.2 minutes per game during his career.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford