Home > Interviews > Timofey Mozgov didn’t want to leave New York

Timofey Mozgov didn’t want to leave New York

February 24, 2011

Here’s Timofey Mozgov’s interview which is a couple days old, but it’s from today’s issue of Sport Express newspaper. Questions by Alexey Bezyazychnyi.
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– 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?

– Yes.

– 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.

Categories: Interviews
  1. David K
    February 24, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Looks like 50000+ Russian folks in Denver. It’s no NYC, but I think Timofey will do just fine!


  2. February 24, 2011 at 9:33 pm


    Thank you Timmy,
    We will miss you, but hope you do well in Denver.

    You where awesome on and off the court.

    we Hope you come back on day

  3. Vikram Kapur
    February 25, 2011 at 12:55 am

    I feel very sad for Timofey Mozgov with this stupid trade he very unfortunately had to go through. He was my favorite player on the Knicks followed by Gallinari. I really wish all of the Knicks who were traded to the Nuggets could somehow find themselves back with the Knicks next year or at least the year after. I truly feel compassion for Timofey, through no fault of his own, having to be unnecessarily uprooted from NY to go to the middle of nowhere–Denver!(Ughhh!!!) Keep your head up Timofey, play hard like you always do, and I wish your girlfriend will be able to adjust to Denver and with a little luck in the future, you should find your way back to NY! NY misses the big Russian and the Italian Stallion who both are extremely talented! Timofey, I will be watching your game tonight against the Celtics–good luck and dominate!

  4. Nick
    February 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Welcome to Denver Timofey! Please note that contrary to popular belief, Denver is not in the middle of nowhere and is actually a great city with a surprisingly high Russian population. I hope you continue to improve your game, come to love the city and want to stay. It has been a long time (Dikembe Mutombo) since we have had a 7 footer!

  5. Vikram Kapur
    February 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Okay, so Denver is not in the “middle of nowhere”. My apologies! I was very disappointed that “genius” Coach Karl didn’t even play Timofey in his first game as a Nugget vs the Celtics last night!! Are you kidding me??!! He wasn’t shipped off to Denver to rot on the bench. He better play tonight against the Trailblazers–he should be the starting center so that Nene can return to his natural power forward position. Mozgov is not just good–he’s damn good!!! You watch Nuggets fans!! And because 80% of my Knicks starting lineup was ripped out of the team in exchange for a megalomaniacal (‘Melo’maniacal!)selfish superstar, you better believe my loyalties are now split and I’m a Nuggets fan as long as my four ex-Knicks are still in Denver. Mozgov needs to play–and play significant minutes (at least 35 min), and you watch–he will shine!! He’s the next star bigman in the league if he gets the chance to play!!!

  6. Nick
    February 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I agree that he needs to get him some minutes and I believe that he will (although I am not sure about 35 mins until he really proves himself). I believe that the reason he did not get in last night is that Coach Karl is trying to work all of the Knicks players into a system that they are unfamiliar with and it makes the transition easier to go a little at a time. Also, it is my understanding that he is not entirely fluent in English yet so their may be a slower transitional process for him. The tough thing about the playing time and moving Nene back to his natural position of PF is that Kenyon Martin currently resides at that position. We certainly cannot afford to move our best defensive player to a bench role so that Timofey can get some more touches at center. K-Mart’s contract is up at the end of the year and if he is not retained I can certainly see Nene moving to PF with Timofey getting much more playing time at C. Biggest problem with the trade was that we sent two starters to NYC and got back 4. So that means at least two starters, whether the ones already here, or ex-Knicks were going to be sitting on the bench.

    I’m glad to hear that these players are good enough to make you change your loyalties to the Nugs. I can certainly tell you that a lot of people out here were not to upset to see Melo leave. Get ready for no defense. Chauncey was great though and he will be missed.

    I am very pleased with the direction of the Nuggets right now and look forward to watching the ex-Knicks play, they will grow to love it here. Loved that Gallo block on Glen Davis last night. Looking forward to seeing some good basketball the rest of this season.

  7. Pavlos Georgiou
    February 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Timo, you have just learned the main lesson in the NBA: that it is indeed a Business! you were just starting to get comfortable and now you have to readjust everything again. thats got to hurt but you still have to make the most of it. George Karl is a verry goood coach so you would only get better!!

    you and Gallo will be missed as you guys were the international stars of our team that we never had!!!!

  8. April 4, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Awesome things here. I’m very satisfied to peer your article. Thanks a lot and I’m having a look ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

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