The Cleveland Cavaliers have kicked off the trade season, moving to add Kyle Korver to bolster their title defense. While this isn’t some huge deal involving a superstar that’ll set off a whole bunch of dominoes, it’s the first significant move as we get closer to the trade deadline on 23 February. Things will likely ramp up even more as the standings become more indicative of each team’s playoff (or not) prospects, with contenders strengthening their squads and lottery teams flogging their wares for assets.
The Dallas Mavericks definitely belong to the latter group. They’ve been doing much better lately, but the 2-13 hole (crater?) they dug themselves into to start the season is not something easily overcome, and playing roughly-.500 basketball from here on out definitely won’t cut it.
Andrew Bogut, the veteran of the AITNBA crew, is one of the more valuable assets on the Mavs, and trade rumours have been swirling around his future for several weeks now. We’ve examined his potential landing spots, and it seems like the big man himself has mentally prepared for it to happen.
“I’m not silly. I’ve been in this league long enough. I’m an expiring contract,” Bogut told ESPN. “I haven’t asked for a trade, but I know in this league we’re 11-24, and I was being honest. There’s a chance that I get traded.”
This doesn’t mean he actually wants out, though.
“Like I said, they can obviously get some picks back and build for the future by trading some of the veteran guys, and I could be one of them. Hint and emphasis on ‘could.’ I’m not saying I’ve gone to management and asked for a trade, which I haven’t. I also haven’t gone to management and begged them not to trade me. I’m just waiting to see what happens.”
Andrew Bogut: “I have not asked to be traded…I have personal reasons that I want to stay here for that I don’t want to talk about on record"
— Michael Lark (@Michael_Lark) January 5, 2017
Through all of this, Bogey has been a consummate professional, even volunteering to start games off the bench after seeing how he and Dirk Nowitzki struggle to help the team when they start alongside each other.
“There’s no point of starting with Dirk and then getting pulled 30 seconds into a game,” Bogut said. “So I went to coach and said, ‘If you’re going to continue to do that, just bring me off the bench. I won’t be offended. We’ll get on with life.’
“It can be a little disparaging, but we’re 10-24. We’re trying to change things up. If that’s the way things are going to go to try to get us wins, I’m all for it. If it doesn’t get us wins, then we have a conversation in five or six games. But it’s one of those things where we’re trying to shake things up.
“It’s no secret that that lineup just doesn’t work. Harrison [Barnes] at the 4 with Dirk at the 5 or myself at the 5 is way more effective. You don’t have to look at analytics to see that. You can see that with the way the floor spacing is and all of that. We’ll give it a shot and see how it goes.”
Coach Rick Carlisle and Dirk himself have praised Bogey’s team-first attitude, even though they’d much prefer for this 4-5 combo to work out.
“That’s a veteran move. That’s a guy who has obviously been around and won a championship. Everybody has got to sacrifice a little,” said Nowitzki. “I still think that when I’m completely healthy and on my normal minutes that somehow we got to play together.”
“I don’t like this,” Carlisle told reporters after Dallas beat the Washington Wizards to start 2017.
“He shouldn’t be coming off the bench. But, the fact that he’s not only willing, but basically offered to, tells you a lot about his character. He wants to win. And he’s a proud guy. He deserves to start. They both do. But we haven’t been able to make it work real well. So this is where we were.”
Much like the Mavericks themselves, Bogut seems to be caught in limbo. If they push for a playoff spot, keeping Bogey makes sense. If not, they should cash him in as soon as a decent offer comes by.
Whatever happens, Bogey will be a free agent at the end of the season, so this uncertainty won’t be for much longer.