San Antonio Spurs: Andrew Bogut is available, but would he make sense?
By Rob Wolkenbrod
The Los Angeles Lakers released Andrew Bogut, but would he make sense for the San Antonio Spurs’ postseason run?
It’s difficult to believe, but it’s almost NBA Trade Deadline season. The San Antonio Spurs might not be active, but it’s possible they factor into the players that get bought out from teams that won’t contend.
On Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers began this process early. They released center Andrew Bogut, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Bogut became the first player to hit free agency, with the intention to join a playoff team. The Lakers cut him to avoid paying a contract guarantee.
The Australian center has plenty of postseason experience. He reached two NBA Finals, both with the Golden State Warriors, and won it all in 2015. However, can he still contribute to a potential championship contender, specifically the Spurs?
Sources: The Los Angeles Lakers are releasing center Andrew Bogut. With Lakers at 11-27, this allows sides to part ways and Bogut to pivot toward signing with a playoff team.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 6, 2018
Since the offseason, frontcourt depth remained a question for San Antonio. It got around this, with on-and-off use of Joffrey Lauvergne and the stretch four deployment of Rudy Gay, but it’s otherwise a soft spot on a full roster, something fans feel the team should address:
Should the Spurs go after Andrew Bogut? I mean he’d definitely be better than Lauvergne but he’s old and injury prone.
— THΣ SPURSIΔΠ ΣMPIRΣ (@Spursian_Empire) January 6, 2018
Andrew Bogut been washed but in this nba you can still use him. Low risk high reward but injury prone. Cavs? Spurs? Celtics? Warriors?
— Player 99 (@DeeDeeJaxWB) January 6, 2018
Andrew Bogut to the Spurs needs to happen. We need big man depth in a bad way and we were interested him in the offseason. Joffrey Lauvergne ain't cutting it. We need another Center. Make it happen Pop & RC @spurs @andrewbogut
— Brandon Burkley (@kidkleo) January 6, 2018
Upon arrival, Lauvergne wasn’t a household name. He played on three teams in three years, with a backup job on the Denver Nuggets, Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder. There were defensive questions around him (31 career blocks entering the season, and none in 2017-18), a far cry from DeWayne Dedmon’s presence off the bench. The Frenchman offered a little more offensively, but, by comparing his 2017-18 numbers to Dedmon’s, the production doesn’t come close. That’s even with the difference in minutes.
Lauvergne, for nearly three weeks, has struggled to stay in the rotation, too. Since Dec. 23, he played approximately 29 minutes. That included three “Did Not Play” tags.
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So, either head coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t believe in Lauvergne’s ability to maintain consistent minutes or there’s just not enough room, especially with the recent returns from injury. Gay’s eventual return from a right heel ailment won’t help, either.
It’s not a strong case to keep Lauvergne, but that’s if the Spurs even want Bogut. They were interested in September, before the veteran big man joined the Lakers.
Injuries obviously accompany Bogut, just like Lauvergne’s frequent ailments this season (dislocated finger, sprained ankle). The former’s goes back years and as recent as the 2016-17 campaign, when he suffered a season-ending injury in his first game for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had just signed him for the playoff run. It’s a sense of deja vu, especially if he suffers another ailment before the playoffs start.
Would the former No. 1 overall pick even be an upgrade, though? Production-wise, he falls short of Lauvergne’s average in points (4.1 vs. 1.5), and they tied in rebounds (3.3). Bogut played two fewer minutes per game as well.
The fall in point production doesn’t come as a surprise, as Bogut’s average has declined in every season since 2013-14. Aside from rebounds, San Antonio would just get a big body that grabs an extra rebound or two, with little-to-no reliability for baskets.
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If it’s a battle between players, Lauvergne vs. Bogut is a wash. Neither provides over-the-top impact, so it might not make sense for the Spurs to make a move. There’s no other player worthy of a release to make room for the 13-year veteran, too. Basically, expect him to land at the end of another contender’s bench.