Andrew Bogut’s time with the Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t as short-lived as the 58 seconds he spent on the court with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, but it was pretty close.
On Saturday, the team officially announced that they requested waivers on the Australian center after he averaged 1.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 9.0 minutes per game over 24 contests played.
The timing of the move was no coincidence.
It occurred just one day before Bogut’s partially-guaranteed one-year deal became fully guaranteed for the remainder of the season, per Nick Metallinos’ reporting for ESPN. Therefore, the Lakers gained financial flexibility while the veteran is now free to sign with any team of his choice.
When he signed with the Lakers, Bogut seemed to know that he wasn’t in store for a large role. After all, Brook Lopez and a slew of younger frontcourt players all stood in his way towards gaining a sizable amount of playing time.
“The whole goal for me was just to come in relatively healthy from the broken leg, and just be ready to play,” Bogut told ESPN in mid-December. “I knew there wasn’t going to be a whole lot of minutes [with the Lakers] because I was the 15th guy signed to the roster.”
Now that the Lakers cut him loose, the general expectation is that Bogut, the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 Draft, will look to join a playoff contender in need of an interior presence.
Here are four logical landing spots.
Bogut spent the first seven years of his career in Milwaukee, so it’d be a fitting destination for him at this stage. The Bucks average 38.4 rebounds per game (worst in the NBA) and hold a negative-3.5 rebounding differential (fourth-worst).
Since trading away Greg Monroe, coach Jason Kidd has inserted John Henson into the starting lineup. Although Henson has performed decently, the depth behind him is concerning to say the least. Second-year big man Thon Maker is who Kidd turns to off the bench and he’s still very raw and unreliable. Despite the impending return of Jabari Parker, it’s essential for the team to get some help on the interior before the February 8 deadline and Bogut could be the missing link that they’ve been searching for.
Additionally, the Bucks waived DeAndre Liggins on Saturday.
Therefore, a roster spot for Bogut is seemingly available at the moment.
Unfortunately for the Pistons, Stan Van Gundy can’t play Andre Drummond for all 48 minutes at the center position. Spelling him with a combination of Eric Moreland and Boban Marjanovic, consistency has been a foreign concept.
A backup role to Drummond could be perfect for Bogut at this point in his career. He would likely never be asked to play over 20 minutes per game and he could provide the size and girth that Drummond does on the interior on both ends of the floor. Although he’s at an advanced age, Bogut is still in solid physical shape and seemingly still has a lot to offer. He could take Drummond under his wing in a mentor’s role as well.
Overall, Bogut could make Van Gundy’s life a lot less strenuous moving forward. The Pistons are currently projected to be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference, but they need to make some kind of move to improve their roster in order to become more dangerous.
Los Angeles Clippers
Similar to the Drummond situation, Doc Rivers has struggled to find any kind of consistency at the center position with DeAndre Jordan off the court this season. Although the team has suffered a nauseating number of key injuries, a combination of Montrezl Harrell and Willie Reed isn’t going to get the job done, especially if the team wants to make a playoff push.
Although Bogut would most likely want to play for a contending team (and the Clippers will probably not go very far if they happen to make the postseason this year), this might be the best opportunity for him to receive consistent playing time on a nightly basis due to the lack of competition.
Although there has been a bit of drama between Bogut and the Clippers organization stemming from his time with the Golden State Warriors, the Clippers are hungry for their first-ever title and need to make the playoffs in order to keep their fanbase engaged and excited. Bogut might provide a spark on the second unit.
San Antonio Spurs
Bogut was tied to the Spurs a number of times in the past, but never ended up there. On the surface, he fits the mold of exactly the kind of player Gregg Popovich gravitates towards: an internationally-born, fundamentally-sound veteran with strong track record of success.
Veteran Pau Gasol is the team’s starter and LaMarcus Aldridge plays the five sometimes in small-ball lineups, but the Spurs are without a true back-to-the-basket center.
Popovich has called Joffrey Lauvergne’s name in 23 games this year as a result of the lack of depth. Although Bogut most likely wouldn’t see substantial playing time, he’d undeniably play for a real contender which is something that might appeal to him more than getting on the court for starter’s minutes at this point in his career.
More teams could decide to go after the veteran big man, but the four above seem like logical landing spots.