OAKLAND -- The first step to assimilating with the Warriors is getting the stamp of approval from Stephen Curry. Kevin Durant got it in 2016 and DeMarcus Cousins got in last summer.
Andrew Bogut, who is finalizing an agreement with the Warriors, got it immediately.
“It’s so exciting, weird ... a blast from the past -- all that combined,” Curry said Tuesday after shootaround. “He’s a guy that we have a lot experience with. He knows our system. He knows how we do things around here. He was instrumental in that turnaround to become a championship-caliber a team.”
When the Warriors in 2015 won the first of three championships in the last four seasons, Bogut -- acquired in March 2012 -- was among five players that had been on the team for at least three years. The others were David Lee, Klay Thompson, Brandon Rush and Curry.
Lee and Rush are out of the NBA. So was Bogut, who played briefly with the Lakers last season before being waived last January, retiring from the league and returning to his native Australia to join the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League.
“I figured once he went to Australia, that would be the last we saw of him on the NBA circuit,” Curry said. “So when his name came up, I thought it was kind of one-sided, like, ‘We’re familiar with him. We like him. Let’s call him and see if he’s interested.’ I didn’t get the mutual vibe.
“And now it’s about to happen, so it’s pretty cool.”
Curry is not alone in believing his former teammate would not return to the NBA. Upon signing with Sydney Kings April, Bogut himself indicated as much.
“Before anyone asks, no NBA outs, no European outs," Bogut told reporters at a news conference in Sydney. "I'm committed to being here for two years . . . it will retire me from the NBA, I'm happy to say that today."
Consider his mind changed. The Warriors studied video of Bogut, met with him and there was mutual interest. Once he is free of the Kings, expected this week, he’ll be able to sign with the Warriors and serve as a backup to starting center DeMarcus Cousins.
“Who knows how many minutes he’ll play or what the situations will be, with DeMarcus back,” Curry said of Bogut. “He brings toughness, a high IQ, rim protection and just a physical toughness that is kind of hard to find.”
At 7-feet, 260 pounds and a sturdy defensive presence, Bogut is a good matchup for the larger centers of the NBA, such as Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams, Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic.
Curry, citing Bogut’s sarcasm and cynicism, seems eager for a reunion, adding “he’s a great dude to have in the locker room.”
Bogut will need a different cubicle. His former spot, in the southwest corner of the locker room, belongs to Durant.