Aussies in NBA: Top 3 trade destinations for Andrew Bogut
Things have improved ever-so-slightly for the Mavericks, who now sit at 6-20 after winning 3 of the last 10 games. It's by no means good, but after being 2-13 at one point, and with Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews putting together some really good performances, things seem much better now.
That said, this still isn't the situation for an elite role player like Andrew Bogut, who can still play a valuable part in a contending team's title push. I don't want to see him go, but a rebuild is staring Dallas in the face right now, and the likely first step towards remaking Dallas is trading Bogey, the only one whose age does not fit the long term timeline and whose ability can still fetch something valuable on the trade market.
With that said, let's take a look at the top three destinations for the good ol' Bogeyman to land in, should he be traded.
1) Boston Celtics
This makes too much sense, that's why it's the number one destination being bandied about. What does Boston need? Solid rim protection and rebounding. What does Andrew Bogut provide? A 95.3 defensive rating and 10.4 boards a game. His passing skills are bonus, and fit right into Boston's play style, where the ball moves constantly in a superstar-less system. As a contender and one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference, adding Bogut could nudge them in front of the Toronto Raptors as the main challengers of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It also helps that the Celtics have a ton of assets. They're still feeding off Billy King's carcass, and although they likely won't be giving up that super-value pick from The Great Brooklyn Nets Heist, a future first-rounder could still do the trick. To make the money work, names like Amir Johnson and Terry Rozier have been mentioned as throw-ins, and with this team in dire need of young talent in just about every position, that would be an acceptable return.
2) Portland Trail Blazers
But what if tearing the squad down and going all-in on the draft isn't the plan?
"I'm just saying I'd rather get better than go backwards," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has said. "I'd rather be opportunistic. Because what's changed is, cap isn't going up $15-20 million like it was before. So teams may come to the realization and they might be willing to give off a really, really good player, if not a perennial All-Star, to get off the money. So I'd rather take that money and go that direction and get good fast."
So, players who have NBA reps on the resume instead of college prospects with no NBA body of work to reference? Portland's got you, fam.
The Trail Blazers' front court looks mighty crowded, with Mason Plumlee, Ed Davis, Meyers Leonard, Noah Vonleh, and Al-Farouq Aminu filling in two positions, all while Bogey's old Golden State Warriors teammate, Festus Ezeli, is likely to undergo season-ending knee surgery. Portland desperately needs a rim guardian. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are playing defense like they just learned the word yesterday, and Bogut seems tailor-made to help the situation.
There might also be some buyer's remorse over giving Ezeli a 2-year, $15 million contract, and Dallas could do Portland a favour by taking him along with Vonleh and a pick in exchange for Bogues. Ezeli's contract, guaranteed for just $1 million in 2017-18, would make this a relatively easy pill to swallow.
3) Milwaukee Bucks
This looks like the least likely scenario. The Bucks have done well in getting into the top five in their conference, but it still feels like they're on an 'organic growth' timetable. Making a win-now move like adding a savvy veteran in Bogut doesn't look like it fits into their modus operandi.
Still, with Greg Monroe failing to live up to the max deal he signed in 2015, adding Bogut to shore up the middle and to give Thon Maker another Aussie vet (along with Matthew Dellavedova) to help guide him through his first seasons in the big league could work out to be a net-positive for Milwaukee.
Dallas would get Greg Monroe in return, a talented big who might just need the right environment to revive his reputation. He's probably not the long term solution or a key starter in a future contending lineup, but would be a very welcome injection of young talent in a depleted roster. If nothing else, he'd likely get his chances to shine and pump up his averages before being moved on for more assets in a win-win arrangement for both the Mavs and himself.
To make the salaries work, the Mavs could throw in another vet like Devin Harris. Should the Bucks add a first-rounder as well, I'd happily take that offer.
Doing good by Bogut
At this point for Mavs fans, we're just looking forward into the future. We don't really want this team to go on a winning streak; we're happy seeing Barnes show off his alpha-dog chops and Matthews continue his feel-good comeback story, all while losing at a clip that'll guarantee us a top-five pick at least.
But one lottery pick does not a contending team make, and whatever young talent and picks we can get in return for doing good by Bogey in sending him to a winning situation is definitely welcome.
Maybe Bogey's side-hustle as an Aussie slang tutor could entice an extra second-rounder or two out of a trade partner?