Warriors

Andrew Bogut fares well in reunion with Warriors after a hectic few days

Andrew Bogut fares well in reunion with Warriors after a hectic few days

Insofar as 14 months have passed since he last played in the NBA, Andrew Bogut’s second debut with the Warriors on Monday went about well as could be expected.

For an emergency starter whose head is spinning in multiple directions, it was solid.

“Andrew was great,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters in San Antonio. “It’s great to have him back. He’s a tremendous defensive player. He’s a great passer. He’s a lob threat. He’s going to help us.”

Bogut tried to help against the Spurs – producing  points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal in 19 minutes – but was unable to prevent a 111-105 loss to the Spurs at AT&T Center.

“Me personally, it was just good to be out there and trying to contribute,” he said. “But I would like to have left with a win.”

Bogut, 34, came out of retirement last week, signing for a second tour with the Warriors upon a March 3 completion of his season with the Sydney Kings of Australia’s National Basketball League. The 7-foot center and his family arrived in the Bay Area over the weekend, giving him four days to find a house, take conditioning tests and prepare to play Thursday against Indiana at Oracle Arena.

But when DeMarcus Cousins sustained a mild injury to his right foot Saturday at Oklahoma City, the timeline moved up three days – to Monday, less than 24 hours after he arrived in San Antonio. Bogut barely knew where he was, much less fully prepared to start an NBA game.

“I felt all right,” Bogut said. “I was sucking wind a little bit in the first quarter, just from flying from Australia the last couple days. But once I got into a rhythm, I felt pretty good.

“I’m just figuring things out like where guys like the ball. That was something I’ve got to still figure out. I’m figuring out a few of our sets, which are new, but for the most part it’s about playing basketball.”

Bogut was signed mostly because he brings much-needed size, familiarity with the systems utilized by the Warriors – he was a member of the team in Kerr’s first two seasons as coach before being traded in 2016 – and his hoops IQ is a seamless fit.

It didn’t take long for Bogut to get his first hello by whistle, as fourth-year official Gediminas Petraitas assessed a foul for an illegal screen nine seconds after tipoff.

“Welcome to the league for sure,” Bogut said. “‘We know you set some hard screens, so we’re just going blow one early.’ That’s how it goes.”

The call “shocked” Kerr.

“It didn’t seem like much,” he said. “He just stood there. He didn’t stick his hip out. It was just a back screen, didn’t impact the play. And, bam, quick foul.”

There were a couple hiccups, as was expected, but Bogut never looked out of place among his new/old teammates. He was minus-2 for the game.

“Obviously, playing with Klay and Steph when I was here last time," Bogut said. "And now throw (Kevin Durant) in there and see how talented he is and how easy the game comes to him, it makes you a little bit jealous. Those guys are really talented.”

Bogut’s return to the Warriors came precisely two months after Cousins was activated. Both are former All-NBA centers. The Warriors won in Cousins’ debut, beating the Clippers, but fell short against the Spurs.

Better days are ahead, according to Bogut.

[WATCH: Steph beats first-quarter buzzer]

“When you get our offense free-flowing, there are so many weapons,” he said. “I can say tonight was a bad night for us, but you can see the potential of this lineup, especially once you throw DeMarcus out there and a few other guys. It’s pretty special.”

The Warriors should benefit from Bogut’s presence. If the first game is any indication, he’ll be a very good backup to Cousins, as dictated by matchups.

Kerr pushes for Warriors to sign Looney to long-term deal this summer

looneykevondunk.jpg
APUSATSI

Kerr pushes for Warriors to sign Looney to long-term deal this summer

LOS ANGELES – Steve Kerr doesn’t often publicly discuss personnel matters faced by the Warriors. Those questions, he will say, are for general manager Bob Myers.

The coach made an exception on Friday. He expressed his desire that the team re-signs center/forward Kevon Looney to a long-term contract when he becomes a free agent in July.

“I was terrified all last year, after we denied the option, that we were going to lose him,” Kerr said. “He was great last year. But it was a bad free agent market for the players last summer. People just didn’t have money. So, we got lucky in terms of being able to keep him. And he’s turned into such a good player for us.

“I’m really, really hoping that we can keep him long term and that we can give him the contract he deserves and he can make some good money and we can enjoy having him on our team for many years.”

This does not imply that Kerr has no desire to see Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson remain Warriors beyond this season. Rather, it is more a matter of not wanting to lose Looney, who has become a valuable member of the rotation and whose cost will be a fraction of what Durant and Thompson will command on the open market.

Looney, 23, is a coach’s dream insofar as he rarely makes mistakes and is not prone to some of the mental errors that can plague young players. He has some physical limitations – he’s an average athlete – but he compensates with sound judgment and hoops intellect.

After a solid regular season, particularly on defense, Looney has been terrific through three postseason games. In 53 minutes off the bench, he has scored 35 points on while shooting an absurd 82.1 percent (14-of-17), adding 11 rebounds, two blocks and two steals, with one turnover.

“He’s gotten better and better,” Kerr said of Looney’s offense. “You can see the confidence growing every game . . . there’s a lot of dunks and a lot of put-backs, but also making that midrange shot. This is the best he has played in his career.”

Looney’s re-signed with the Warriors last summer at $1.57 million for one season. The Warriors will have full Bird rights this time around and, if so inclined, likely would be looking at deal that would pay somewhere in the range of $5-6 million annually.

Matt Barnes trolls Russell Westbrook in Kevin Durant-Pat Beverley tweet

Matt Barnes trolls Russell Westbrook in Kevin Durant-Pat Beverley tweet

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Sunday morning at 11, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

In Thursday night's Game 3, the Warriors led the Clippers 73-52 at halftime.

When he walked off the court after the first 24 minutes, Kevin Durant had scored 27 points (10-of-15 shooting) and dished out four assists.

Before the third quarter started, former Warriors forward Matt Barnes took to Twitter to let his feelings be known.

This tweet receives a 10 out of 10.

Barnes, of course, is referring to Durant's former teammate, Russell Westbrook, who went 5 of 20 from the field in Oklahoma City's Game 2 loss in Portland on Tuesday night.

Durant received a lot of backlash from the media for how he handled facing Patrick Beverley in the first two games of the NBA playoff series (mostly Game 2).

[RELATEDNBA rescinds Durant's technical foul from Game 3 vs. Clips]

Warriors coach Steve Kerr even told reporters that he wanted to see a much more aggressive KD in Game 3.

With his 38-point outbust, the reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP gave everybody what they were looking for.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram