Star Sydney Kings centre Andrew Bogut will return to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors after signing a short-term deal with the US basketball giants.
Bogut will play for the Warriors for the remainder of the current NBA season and play-offs, before returning to the Kings for next year’s NBL.
On Thursday, he said even a single minute of NBA action for the Golden State Warriors – who are favourites to win their fourth NBA title in five years – would be a “bonus”.
With a month to go in the regular NBA season before the play-offs start, the Warriors are at the top of the Western Conference with a 44-20 record.
Bogut, 34, is a beloved figure at the Warriors and in the San Francisco Bay area, having helped build the team into the NBA’s most dominant force.
He made 236 appearances for the franchise between 2012 and 2016 and was a member of the 2015 championship squad, before being offloaded to the Dallas Mavericks to clear salary cap space to sign Kevin Durant.
The Warriors have also added All-Star big DeMarcus Cousins this season.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 6, 2019
Bogut, having won the NBL MVP award this year for his Kings exploits, said he was glad to play second fiddle to Cousins and provide bench cover.
“I’m not silly, I know I’m older and they have some very good players, but there’s going to be situations, whether DeMarcus gets in foul trouble or [there’s] a big that’s a little stronger and they need some minutes,” he said.
“That’s not an issue for me. I’m [under] no illusions that anything is guaranteed for me here. I appreciate the opportunity if it’s waving a towel for 20-odd games.
“I was ready to go and sign there and not play a minute.”
Bogut admitted to believing he’d “closed the door” on a return to US basketball and insisted on completing the NBL season before considering offers.
The Melbourne-born big made 30 Kings appearances this season, averaging 11.4 points, a league-high 11.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.7 blocks.
But once the Warriors’ interest was clear, there were no doubts in his mind.
“I’d be crazy to give up the chance to win a championship on one of the greatest teams in basketball, so it ended up being a pretty easy decision,” Bogut said.
“Other teams weren’t a consideration – I don’t think I would’ve gone back to play for pretty much anyone else. Golden State have a special place in my heart.”
On Thursday, the Kings congratulated Bogut on his move.
“This is an exciting opportunity for both Andrew and the Kings,” they said in a tweet. “Andrew will return to Sydney, and the purple and gold faithful, ready to go for .”