Andrew Bogut 'blindsided' by Lakers exit, turned down playoff teams

ByJake Michaels ESPN logo
Thursday, April 12, 2018

Veteran Australian centre Andrew Bogut has revealed he could have joined one of four playoff-bound teams after being "blindsided" by the Los Angeles Lakers' decision to request waivers on his contract in early January.

The former No. 1 draft pick signed with the Lakers in September last year after a brief stint at the Cleveland Cavaliers but was quickly resigned to a bench role as coach Luke Walton opted to build around their promising youth.

Bogut averaged 1.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game from his nine minutes a night before the 16-time NBA champions waived his contract, one day before his partially guaranteed one-year deal became guaranteed for the full season.

"Getting released by the Lakers kind of blindsided me a little bit after the [positive] discussions we had with management leading up to it," Bogut told ESPN. "I guess they thought that I would ask for a buyout and try to join a playoff team because the Lakers obviously didn't have the chance to make the playoffs."

Bogut, a key member of the Golden State Warriors' 2015 championship team, also confirmed to ESPN that he received interest from at least four playoff-bound franchises immediately after learning his future would not be in Los Angeles.

While Bogut didn't name which franchises he could have been suiting up for, he did say they were "great teams".

"I had an offer from one in the east and I got an offer for a 10-day [contract] from a team in the west," Bogut told ESPN. "The one out east was for the rest of the season but I just decided they weren't great fits for me and the way I play so I just decided to wait it out.

"The other thing I had in my back pocket was there were two other teams that expressed a lot of interest but had some cap space issues and they wanted me to wait until late March - early April to sign so it wouldn't affect their salary cap as much as it would by signing in January. Those teams called immediately after I was released from the Lakers."

Despite the interest, Bogut decided against committing to another franchise for the remainder of the 2017-18 season. Instead, the 33-year-old returned to his native Australia to tend to his family after a spate of unfortunate personal issues.

"We had just found out that my wife was having a high-risk [pregnancy] so she returned to Australia and I stayed in the States for about three weeks, trying to stay in shape," Bogut told ESPN. "But the thing that triggered [me coming home] was my grandfather passing away.

"I came back home to Australia for that and once I got here I made the decision to hang around, help my grandmother out and be here for my wife.

"It was really was asnowball effect of things that led me to make the decision."

While he currently has no contract for the 2018/19 season, Bogut remains confident of finding a new home and believes he has enough in the tank to continue playing in the NBA, albeit on a minutes restriction.

"The body's feeling good right now," Bogut told ESPN. "I still feel like I've got a couple of good years left in me that I can play at a high level.I don't feel I'm in a position to play 40 or 35 minutes a night, that's a bit extreme with my injury history, but I think 15-20 a night off the bench is definitely a goal I am looking towards."

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