Timofey Mozgov didn’t want to leave New York
– Where are you now?
– I’m driving, going home to pack my things. There’s just a few hours left before the flight to Denver.
– When did you learn about the trade?
– Donnie Walsh called me on Monday evening and said that I became part of the trade. He wished me luck and good health. Also he asked me not to delay the move, there’s just twenty-four hours for everything.
– What was the first thing that you thought about after speaking to Walsh?
– It was not a thing but a person. About my girlfriend, of course. It was a real shock for Alla. She became friends with a lot of girls here and already felt almost at home. And, New York is New York. Nobody would want to change such a splendid city for some Denver – like this, all of a sudden. It’s much easier for me. Basketball is my job. I’ve played and practiced with one team, now with another. It’s no problem. But I feel uneasy before Alla.
– During the All-Star game they asked Anthony where he was going after all, but Kobe Bryant sitting next to him jokingly forbade him to answer. Did you see it?
– What did you think then? Could you have imagined that just a day later you will trade places?
– No. Rumors that Anthony would be traded to New York or New Jersey were going on for a long time. But, to tell the truth, I didn’t think much about it. That thing was going on for too long. Also I was sure that I wouldn’t be involved in a trade. My name came up in the last moment. That’s why it hurt a little. Of course I didn’t want to leave New York.
– Other than Walsh, who on the Knicks did you say goodbye to?
– Almost everybody. Guys wished me good luck at the new place, and Mike D’Antoni even said he would miss me. He said he’s happy that Anthony joined the team, but regrets that I had to leave.
– How troublesome is the move for you?
– I have paid a long time ago for the apartment that me and Alla were renting in New York. In Denver we will stay at a hotel in the beginning. But I hope we will solve all the problems fast. After all, we already have experience of moving, from Russia to New York.
– After the move to Nuggets, will the terms of your three-year 10 million dollar contract change in any way?
– Of course not. This is NBA. Here the league guarantees every contract. It doesn’t matter what team you are playing for, the money is transferred regularly to your account. The way league and clubs reach mutual settlement doesn’t bother you.
– What do you think of when you hear Denver, by association?
– To tell the truth, nothing. I’ve only been there once, and I didn’t have the time to see the city well.
– What do the people you know say about it?
– Right after the trade Andrei Kirilenko called and said that I shouldn’t be upset. He said, Denver is not as bad as I possibly could be thinking. The air is clean there, scenery is great and the fans are awesome. And it’s located really well, almost in the very center of the country. So any big city in the States lies within the same distance from there, about a thousand miles.
– In the movie Cliffhanger with Sylvester Stallone action takes place near Denver. So you should know that you will have to play on the highland. How do you feel yourself when in the mountains?
– I don’t know. But what can I do? We’ll be getting used to it.
– Denver and Salt Lake City are located 1600 and 1300 meters above the sea level, and it’s the two NBA cities, which are high in the mountains. So, your games against Kirilenko’s Utah can be now called the Russian Derby of the Cordilleras?
– Call it whatever you want. What’s important for me is that Utah and Denver are in the same division, so Kirilenko and me will see each other more often. In New York it was easy to meet Russians on the street. I’m afraid that in Denver they are impossible to find. And speaking your language is sometimes necessary.
– On the other hand, you will be joined in Denver by three former New York teammates.
– Of course I’m happy about it. If not for them, it would be completely dreary. Especially without Gallinari, who I became friends with.
– Did you hear that he could be traded before the deadline too?
– I won’t be surprised by anything after all that happened. I don’t let rumors get into my head. Whatever happens happens. Why let it get on your nerves beforehand?
– I can tell by the way you speak that after all you are disappointed.
– What’s good about it? I barely started to feel my game, got used to the city, the coach, and now I have to start everything from scratch. You can say I’m flying into uncertainty.
– Does Denver’s playing style suit you? And who do you think is your main competition on the roster? All in all, the only other real center on the Nuggets is Nene Hilario.
– Those are the questions, I say! This is not Locomotive or Dynamo. How do I know how Denver plays? I didn’t see their games on TV. I haven’t talked to the coach yet. And the two games that we played against them, I don’t remember it well. I didn’t suppose it then that it could be my next team.
– But I’m sure that you’ve checked the standings already. Will you make a guess what team will have a better season? New York or Denver?
– If I’m not mistaken, both teams are on sixth place within their conferences. But it’s harder to make the playoffs in the West. A lot will depend on the schedule, and I didn’t study it yet. I told you, I’m flying into uncertainty.