New Warrior Andrew Bogut realistic about NBA return

ByStuart Randall ESPN logo
Thursday, March 7, 2019

On the day it finally became official that he'd be swapping the harbour for The Bay -- at least for a few months -- Andrew Bogut gave off the impression of a man reveling in getting another chance.

"It's a really cool story," he said at a media conference in Sydney on Thursday.

A key piece of the Golden State Warriors as they built their legacy over half a dozen years ago, Bogut returns older, wiser and under no illusions of his role with the NBA Champion.

Bogut, the NBL MVP for 2018/19 in his first season back in the Australian league, confirmed plans to return to the Sydney Kings next season and revealed he'd been in contact with the Warriors since December, and that they were the only team he would have realistically returned to the NBA for.

"I appreciate the opportunity and if it's waving a towel for 20 games and being a good teammate I'm happy to do it. For me it's an absolute honour to go and sign there and not play a minute, anything more than that is a bonus," the 34-year-old said.

"I'm not silly, I know I'm older, but there's going to be situations where maybe DeMarcus [Cousins] gets into foul trouble, whether there's a D that's a little bit stronger, where they need some minutes, and times when I won't play and that's not an issue for me."

While ruling out any thoughts of 'unfinished business', Bogut did acknowledge the nature of his departure from Golden State in 2016, after the Centre was traded to Dallas to free up cap space for the Warriors to sign Kevin Durant.

"I understand it was a business decision. You have the opportunity to sign Kevin Durant and I'm the odd man out," he said. "I mean, I would have done that to myself if I was the GM. It's no hard feelings. These things happen and obviously I was disappointed, it got ramped up in the media that I was really bitter and hated everyone there. It was never the case.

"I've kept in touch with people - Draymond, Steph, Klay and ... it's cool to go back to somewhere where I'm valued, not only as a basketball player, but for basketball IQ and as a person, and hopefully I can add another ring to the collection."

And while there'll be a host of friendly faces, there's one new teammate Bogut is looking forward to playing alongside.

"I've got to rekindle my relationship withDeMarcus Cousinsbecause we really went at it when he was at Sac - a lot of near scuffles and holds and flagrant fouls, so I'm looking forward to being on the same team as him this time," Bogut said.

In a competitive Western Conference, the Warriors remain favourites but have struggled for consistency, going 5-5 over the past month. But Bogut sees the silver lining in the recent travails.

"Obviously winning two championships in a row, I wouldn't say you get bored, but it becomes a grind," he said. "But they're still the team to beat. Golden State has been a bit up and down, and I don't think it's the worst thing in the world. If it was cruise control to the play-offs, I don't think that's a good thing. A bit of adversity isn't the worst thing, especially ahead of a play-off series."

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