It sounds like Andrew Bogut's return to the NBA hardwood isn't too far away.
In a recent blog entry on NBA Australia, Bogut confirmed that there were about ten NBA teams that could be interested in his services.
It looks pretty promising, there’s a lot of teams that have shown interest even when I was going through the buyout period with Cleveland, and they have all followed up.
Everyone that is interested, and that’s roughly around ten teams at the minute, are obviously pending my recovery from my injury and making sure I’m healthy.
Bogut also wrote about his recovery progress inside. Similar to how the ESPN report sounded, he was ahead of his planned schedule, and it could be less than a month before the big man was cleared for full basketball activities.
Where would Bogut fit?
Bogut commented on the requirement of being fit more than anything else, but pointed out it would be hard to commit to playing minutes in a new situation.
Knowing what my strengths are, playing out of the high post, defending, that kind of stuff – looking at the teams that play that way would be more suitable for me.
The new NBA has continually trended towards small ball, and a growing emphasis towards all five players capable of shooting the three-pointer.
With that being said, there still remain teams who could readily fit Bogut into their roster, depending on Bogut's salary requirements.
1. San Antonio Spurs
For example, it's not difficult to see a team like the San Antonio Spurs, who have stuck to playing two traditional big men for the most part, as a suitable prospect. They also have a good reputation on integrating veterans; Pau Gasol would be the latest example in a long list of seasoned Spurs vets.
Last season, the Spurs fielded multiple big men who have not had sterling defensive performances. Should the Spurs not re-sign Dewayne Dedmon, Bogut's addition would certainly give their defence a boost, and fit into the Spurs' selfless system well.
2. Golden State Warriors
Bogut's old team, the Golden State Warriors, could most definitely use his defence and playmaking skills, as we have seen in earlier seasons. Zaza Pachulia has performed admirably and filled Bogut's mean screening role to perfection, but having Bogut back would definitely add value.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the team has committed $201 million over five years to Stephen Curry, and a further $48 million, 3-year deal to Andre Iguodala. It's hard to see the financially stretched Warriors having much to offer, beyond the veteran's minimum. The Warriors' re-signing of Zaza Pachulia to a one-year deal has made this scenario a lot less unlikely.
(Updated with Pachulia re-signing.)
3. Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics, who were one of the weaker rebounding teams last season, could also use an intelligent playmaker like Bogut.
The center could certainly mop up defensive rebounding woes and enhance the Celtics' fluid motion offence. He would also help soak up regular season minutes and give Al Horford rest, especially after losing Amir Johnson; there is no way Horford can sustain 82 games playing as a small-ball center and still be in good shape for the playoffs.
The recent signing of European big man Daniel Theis, and addition of Ante Zizic to this season's roster doesn't help their rebounding enough. The Celtics acquired forward Marcus Morris from the Detroit Pistons in a salary clearing trade.
They could also potentially have space to commit forward Guershon Yabusele for this coming season, should additional moves be made.
Their imminent signing of Gordon Hayward to a max contract makes the argument for a low cost, skilled centre like Bogut a very palatable one to the cash-strapped Celtics.
(Updated to reflect Hayward/Johnson signings, Morris trade and cap situation.)
4. Milwaukee Bucks
Fox Sports Wisconsin suggested the Milwaukee Bucks as a possible candidate, which isn't entirely far-fetched. The Bucks were ranked second last in rebounds per game last season, and only managed to grab 75.4% of their defensive rebounds, making them 26th in the league.
The Bucks currently have Thon Maker, Greg Monroe --and possibly Spencer Hawes, John Henson-- as centers. Also, note Milwaukee is most definitely capped out, at $110 million (per HoopsHype).
Although, one might make the case that:
Two of the Bucks most-used regular season five-man lineups didn't involve either Monroe or Hawes,
Both Monroe and Hawes are expiring contracts,
It's summer, and nothing is impossible. We'll stop here.
5. Utah Jazz
Salt Lake City is surely no stranger to Andrew Bogut; after all, Bogut made his run to the NBA with the University of Utah Utes, from 2003 to 2005.
Last season, the Utah Jazz had little insurance behind Rudy Gobert. His absence basically meant the Jazz had to rely on small ball right away, switching to a rotation of Diaw and/or Favors. In fact, the team's most used five-man lineup last playoffs had Diaw and Favors at the big man spots.
Diaw and Favors are still under contract so they could likely roll the same formula out again, but they could definitely use a backup center of Bogut's caliber, to shore up their depth for an 82-game slog.
Which other teams do you see as good situations for Andrew Bogut next season? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.