NBA AM: Warriors On Verge Of Extending Bogut?
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Warriors On Verge Of Extending Bogut?
The Golden State Warriors are one of the toughest teams to get a read on entering the 2013-14 campaign. On one hand, you can make an argument the team has legitimate title aspirations after an offseason which saw them land former All-Star forward Andre Iguodala. On the other hand, if you’re a skeptic you can point to the team’s shaky health history, the loss of key chemistry guys Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, and a questionable bench unit.
Bogut is set to earn $14 million this season and is in the final year of his deal. The center figures to be a hot commodity should he reach free agency next summer. However, there is a risk associated with Bogut, as the center has missed 180 games over the past five seasons.
Despite the injury woes, Bogut says the Warriors have reached out regarding an extension and he routinely dismisses the injury talk.
“Just based on the fact that my last two injuries I can’t control,” Bogut said according to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. “If these were chronic injuries from lack of conditioning or not working out in the summer or being a fat slob, I can understand the caution. But would I do things to the extent that Andrew Bynum’s done with his contract? Hell no. The clauses that he has, there’s no chance I would sign a contract. But basically having game incentives — whatever the number is, 60, 70, whatever it is — I have no problem. I think that’s only fair.”
The Warriors were in the short mix to sign All-Star center Dwight Howard in free agency this summer, which in all likelihood would have meant an address change for Bogut in the process.
Bogut says he doesn’t hold ill will toward the organization in their pursuit of Howard, but also notes he’ll keep it mind if he should hit free agency next July.
“I definitely don’t believe that there was nothing there,” Bogut said. “I believe there was something there. And if I was sitting in the GM’s position with the Golden State Warriors, I’d make that deal. It’s a future Hall of Fame center for a guy that was banged up and struggled through a season. I can’t take personally. It’s a business. They’re trying to get better. Obviously it does play on your mind a little bit in the offseason, but that’s part of business. At the same time, if I do become a free agent, I’m going do what I can to do what’s best for myself.”
Bogut has career averages of 12.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 draft, selected by the Milwaukee Bucks, before being dealt to Golden State in March 2012.
What We’ve Learned During Preseason
Let’s take a look at some players who have hit the ground running and are hoping to carry the positive momentum into the regular season.
Omri Casspi, Houston Rockets: Casspi’s career has been on a downward spiral since his rookie season in 2010 when he averaged 10.3 points per game. The forward has spent time with Sacramento and Cleveland but has yet to find a consistent niche at the pro level. Casspi signed a two-year deal with Houston in free agency this past summer and the move might revitalize his career. The Rockets opened training camp with huge questions at power forward, but Casspi’s play at small forward during preseason might allow the franchise to utilize Chandler Parsons more in the role. Casspi is averaging 16.7 points and seven rebounds for Houston during the preseason on a sparkling 77 percent from the field.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans: Davis entered last season with all of the hype normally given to No. 1 overall draft picks, but early injuries contributed to him getting off to a slower start. Entering the 2013-14 campaign, the Pelicans have surrounded Davis with more weapons in the lineup, acquiring All-Star guard Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans. Davis has responded well during the preseason, taking the league by storm, averaging 24.5 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game. With such a guard heavy rotation Davis won’t be asked to carry the nightly load, but for the Pelicans it is good to see the forward blossoming in other areas besides defense.
Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder: Jackson was pressed into a bigger role during last season’s playoffs when All-Star guard Russell Westbrook suffered a torn meniscus. Jackson responded by finishing his first postseason with averages of 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists. With Westbrook expected to miss the first two months of the season, Jackson will get the call to provide offensive support to All-Star forward Kevin Durant, much like James Harden and Kevin Martin provided in recent seasons.
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons: With the arrival of Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith, playoff aspirations are riding high for the first time in years in Detroit. While the Pistons have undoubtedly improved, one of the team’s wildcards will be the growth of second-year center Andre Drummond. The former UCONN product averaged 4.2 fouls per 36 minutes of action, so his ability to stay on the floor is critical. So far during the preseason Drummond has averaged 17.7 points and 8.7 rebounds on a sizzling 67 percent from the floor.
Also keep an eye on: Isaiah Thomas (SAC), Evan Turner (PHI), Bradley Beal (WAS), Xavier Henry (LAL) and Jared Sullinger (BOS)