Bogut’s next move after Lakers split
ANDREW Bogut's surprising stint in Los Angeles is over, paving the way for the Australian big-man to sign with an NBA championship contender.
For a centre in Bogut's position - a skilled, defensive-minded championship-winner entering his 13th season in the NBA - the expectation during the off-season was that he would sign with one of the top teams in the league. Instead, he opted for the still-rebuilding Lakers; an experience that has lasted just under four months.
The Lakers released their veteran centre on Sunday morning, and there are multiple playoff or title contending teams who could use a player with his size, experience, and skillset.
A Bogut-Bucks reunion in Milwaukee makes a lot of sense.
The talent on Jason Kidd's roster gives them a chance to be a legitimate playoff contender - though, they're at least a year off being close to a title contender - and Giannis Antetokounmpo has now reached superstar status in the NBA.
The problem with the Bucks is how weak they are in the frontcourt, making them the league's worst rebounding team, at just 38.4 a game. The departure of Greg Monroe meant the Bucks gave up their only true centre, with John Henson playing at the de facto five-spot on the 'positionless' team.
The introduction of Bogut would see him rejoin the team that drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, and would give the Australian the opportunity to shore up the paint on both ends, on a Bucks side that desperately needs it.
The role Bogut played in Los Angeles - as a mentor to the up-and-coming young players - could continue, with fellow Australian big-man, Thon Maker, a worthy mentee.
The Rockets were among the teams interested in Bogut during his free agency, and it wouldn't be a shock for them to be in the conversation this time around.
There's no question Bogut would be interested in signing with them, should the opportunity arise. Houston is a major city, and the Rockets will contend for the NBA Championship over the next few years.
While Bogut's style of play is somewhat antithetical to the way the Rockets go about their business - a run-and-gun, three-point shooting force, as opposed to Bogut's half-court expertise - Mike D'Antoni's team could use some rim protection behind what they already have in Clint Capela. The Rockets are among the best offensive teams we've seen in recent history, but are giving up 47.8 points in the paint per game, which is the fourth worst in the league. A proven rim protector could be just what they need to round out a potential championship-winning roster.
Perhaps more importantly, the Rockets have an open roster spot, meaning they wouldn't have to give anyone up for what many would consider a risking signing of Bogut.
Yes, another team with multiple Australians could be a landing spot that makes a lot of sense for Bogut.
The Jazz are slowly putting it together after a roster overhaul in the off-season, but injuries are stifling any chance at putting together a legitimate run.
Bogut could join a Jazz team that needs help inside - Rudy Gobert is still out with a knee injury - providing a presence on the glass for the sixth worst rebounding team in the league.
The Jazz's future is bright, with Donovan Mitchell coming into his own of late, an intriguing offensive tandem of Ricky Rubio and Gobert, and even Joe Ingles proving to be extremely valuable. The Jazz have been on long losing slumps, and big winning streaks, but are in position to fight for the eighth spot in the Western Conference. If going to a winning team is one of Bogut's priorities, the Jazz have the potential to be just that.
The team is well-coached, and has been impressive on both ends of the floor. If Bogut were to join, he wouldn't have any sort of major role, but he's a piece that would fit in well with the side that looks on the trajectory to make the postseason.
This would be the longest shot, but it isn't necessarily unthinkable.
On one hand, the Celtics have their true big-man in Aron Baynes, who's performing at an extremely impressive level. When Baynes isn't on the floor, Brad Stevens' team is able to play a multitude of face-up four-men, making them a dangerous, floor-stretching contender.
On the other hand, would it make sense to bring in some 'insurance' like Bogut? Against teams with strong front lines, it may be the safe bet to have Bogut in place, in the case Baynes is in foul trouble, or not providing on the offensive end.
For Bogut, it would be a dream if the Celtics were interested. He could be able to forge a small role on the team, who look like they're going to legitimately make a run at the title.
Whether the Celtics want to play around with the chemistry of their team, which seems bound for continued success, is the bigger question. Logic would suggest they wouldn't want to do that, but fear could see Danny Ainge act.