Andrew Bogut is a big deal in Australia. They have other players in the NBA — hello Patty Mills — but Bogut is a defensive stalwart, the former college player of the year at Utah who, if he gets his shooting touch back, is a borderline All-Star.
Plenty of teams in the Australian league (the NBL) want him to play for them if the lockout drags on, and Bogut tweeted he is in talks with several teams.
But one team, the Perth Wildcats — five-time league champions, essentially the Celtics/Lakers of Australia — has a plan to pick up the massive insurance bill for Bogut (roughly $500,000 every three months) to insure the remaining $39 million on his Milwaukee Bucks contract.
Well, the Wildcats don’t actually want to pick it up themselves, as a team executive told The West Australian (via Hoopshype).
If negotiations progress, the Wildcats would seek financial support from the government and corporate sectors. (Team managing director Nick) Marvin said the benefits of Bogut playing in Perth would be felt not just by the Wildcats, but by the wider WA community….
“For Andrew Bogut to play for us, and if that is the only hurdle we have to cross, I would hope that government and corporate Western Australia would support us and make it work,” Marvin said.
Corporations and sponsors? Maybe. The government? In this country it’s hard to get public money to pay for an arena (with good reason) — can you imagine the reaction if Pat Riley went to the governor of Florida to ask for money to pay LeBron James and Dwyane Wade?
But if Marvin can sell this to them, well, he is the new Blake.
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.
The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.
Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.
PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson completed his staff Wednesday, naming Jay Triano associate head coach and Tyrone Corbin and Nate Bjorkgren assistant coaches.
Triano spent the last four seasons as assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers, including Watson’s final season as a player in 2013-14. The first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history when he directed Toronto, he also is the coach of Canada’s national team.
Corbin was Sacramento’s interim head coach for 28 games in 2014-15. He played the Suns in 1987-89.
Bjorkgren remains with the Suns after spending last season as assistant coach/player development coordinator. He also was head coach of the Suns’ NBA Summer League team the past two years.
The Suns also named Marlon Garnett assistant coach/player development coordinator, and Scott Duncan and Jason Fraser player development coaches.
The Los Angeles Clippers still have Paul Pierce under contract. Not many minutes for him, but he has a roster spot.
Pierce probably wants come back but is thinking it all over, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Pierce has been debating this with himself for a while now.
Pierce saw a dramatic drop off in production and how much he was used last season by Rivers. Pierce averaged a career-low 6.1 points per game on an also career low 48.9 true shooting percentage. His PER of 8.2 was also a career low. You get the idea. By the end of the season Pierce was mostly an afterthought for Doc Rivers (although he did start one game after Blake Griffin was out and the Clippers’ playoff dreams were toast).
Pierce would be more mentor than a key player on the court, but he would be on probably the third best team in the West, a team that capable of making a deep playoff run. Does he want to do that for one more season? You know Doc would welcome him.