Warriors excited to add Andrew Bogut as 'insurance policy' at center

Warriors excited to add Andrew Bogut as 'insurance policy' at center

OAKLAND -- It's official: Andrew Bogut is back with the Warriors.

Bogut, who had to receive clearance from his current team, the Sydney Kings of Australia's NBL, agreed to a veteran's minimum deal with the Warriors this week. The team announced the signing Wednesday morning.

With Golden State thin in the frontcourt and the team's need for a defensive presence, the Warriors seemed more than happy to welcome an old friend to the fold during the stretch run.

"We're excited about [Bogut] coming in," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We looked at this as an insurance policy in the frontcourt. A guy who obviously knows our players, half of them."

Bogut, who played for the Warriors from 2012 until 2016, spent the majority of this season in his native Australia. He averaged 11.4 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.7 blocks per game for the Kings, winning MVP of the league.

When the 13-year NBA veteran signed with the Australian team less than a year ago after being bought out by the Lakers, he expressed doubt he'd even play in the NBA. He told The Daily Telegraph in Australia, "This is my official retirement from the NBA. ... I have no want to go back there, regardless of offers that I get."

However, two months ago, with Damian Jones tearing his left pectoral muscle in December and DeMarcus Cousins still rehabbing, Golden State and Bogut's representation chatted about his availability, according to Kerr.

Recently, Warriors assistant general manager Larry Harris traveled to Australia to see Bogut's progress and if he'd be a fit with the team. With Jones' injury, the Warriors had just one true center on the roster, and found themselves in the market for a big man in the buyout market.

But when no options came to fruition, Bogut seemed like a solid fit because of his defensive prowess and size. 

"We have to look ahead for the playoffs for different matchups and we feel vulnerable," Kerr said. "Particularly in the case of injury against certain matchups." 

"We all know what [Bogut] brings to the table," Warriors forward Draymond Green said. "So I think it will overall help us, especially going down this stretch where it's going to be a tough run to try to three-peat, so it will be important for us to have him back and I know he's going to contribute a lot in winning this championship."

As for playing time, Kerr said he doesn't know how many minutes Bogut will receive upon returning. 

"I have no idea how it's going to play out, that's the expectation," Kerr said. "The whole idea is he's coming in with no expectations for minutes. He's going to be a part of our team and whatever the situation calls for then we'll use him."

Bogut's presence could be a boost for a defensive unit that ranks 16th in defensive rating (109.5) and 18th in points allowed (112.4). During the 2015-16 season, his last with the Warriors, the team had the sixth-best defense in the league on their way to an NBA-record 73 wins. 

[RELATED: What went right, what went wrong in Dubs' loss to Celtics]

Remnants of Bogut's defensive influence are still seen on the Warriors today. During Green's first practice with the Warriors in 2012, Bogut gave Green, now one of the best defenders in the league, a few defensive lessons.

"I learned I had no clue," Green said. "You know, leaving college you had to guard the post with your chest, which is ridiculous. In the NBA, you get torched guarding the post with your chest." 

Now, almost three years since he left the Warriors, the team hopes he can use that defensive influence to help guide the Warriors to their third straight title. 

"I didn't foresee this happening, but I'm excited as hell about it," Green added. "It's good."

Warriors 2020 NBA free agency targets: Five big men team could sign

Warriors 2020 NBA free agency targets: Five big men team could sign

The Warriors need to bolster their frontcourt this offseason.

They could do just that through the NBA draft, free agency or both.

Last week, Grant Liffmann listed some possible "under-the-radar" free-agents the front office could target. And Monte Poole, Kerith Burke, Liffmann and yours truly discussed those options this week on the latest "Warriors Roundtable."

It's very possible that general manager Bob Myers and his staff make it a priority to sign a player (or two) who is a threat from deep.

The plan was for Kevon Looney to add the 3-point shot to his game last year, but injuries derailed his season.

Marquese Chriss averaged 2.7 3-point attempts per game over his first two NBA seasons with the Phoenix Suns, but just shot 39 3s over 59 games with the Dubs in 2019-20 (he made eight).

[RELATED: Debating guards, wings Warriors could sign in free agency]

And Draymond Green -- who might end up playing more center in 2020-21 -- has not shot the ball consistently well from beyond the arc the last four regular seasons.

To see which big men the Warriors might be interested in adding this October, watch the full conversation above.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

What Warriors' Klay Thompson repeatedly told Damion Lee during rehab

What Warriors' Klay Thompson repeatedly told Damion Lee during rehab

Damion Lee knows exactly what Klay Thompson is going through.

Lee, who tore his right ACL in 2013 and his left ACL in 2016, has been impressed with how his Warriors teammate is handling his own ACL rehab. And it appears Klay has a new appreciation for what Lee has experienced as well.

"[Klay and I have] had several conversations before about rehab in regards to the ACL," Lee said this week on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast with Kerith Burke and Grant Liffmann. "He'd always joke, 'Damn, D-Lee. I don't know how you did this twice because this is a lot.'

"It's cool to see what he's been through and now wanting to come back and go all out."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Thompson, of course, tore his left ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors and missed the entire 2019-20 season.

What kind of 2020-21 season does Lee expect from Klay when the three-time NBA champion finally returns to game action?

"I feel like he wants to show people that he is the best two-way guard in the league," Lee said. "He's done it before. He's in a pretty good mind space. I think he's just ready to go out there and play."

[RELATED: Klay tells fans in China his mind, body are '100 percent']

Klay wasn't around the team a lot last season. But when he was at Chase Center, he made his presence felt.

"There were a lot of times where he'd just pull younger guys aside and give guys little tidbits," Lee explained. "It's unique to see. Everyone is so used to seeing Klay being quiet or reserved. Hearing him actually speak up and talk and give some input is huge.

"That's a huge step -- not only for him but the team and a lot of the younger guys seeing him as a big brother and as an influence."

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