Andrew Bogut is back. The veteran big man has agreed to join forces with former Warriors assistant Luke Walton by signing a one-year, partially guaranteed contract for the veteran’s minimum with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical.
Bogut has been adrift since Golden State traded him in the 2016 offseason to make the requisite space to add Kevin Durant. The 7-foot Australian played 26 games for the Mavericks last season before being bought out and signing with the Cavaliers in late February. But Bogut fractured his left tibia in his first appearance for the Cavs, sidelining him for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.
At nearly 33 years old, what, if anything, does Bogut have left in the tank? And what could the Lakers hope to get out of him?
Bogut could serve as a much-needed “old head” for a team full of young guns, including rookie starting point guard Lonzo Ball. And he could also help reconstruct the persona of a team trying to change it up after the trade of D’Angelo Russell. Instagram videos helped bring the Warriors together back in 2014. No leaked Snapchats would be a start for this Lakers team.
On the court, Bogut’s age and glaring lack of speed might be a tough fit for a Lakers team that will thrive in the fast break. But even though his athleticism has dwindled, Bogut is still a plus passer, and there’s at least a wisp of hope that there might be some rim-protecting and rebounding left in him. The former no. 1 overall pick in the draft might still be in there, somewhere.
Perhaps more meaningful is what Bogut’s addition could mean for the Lakers’ rotations. With Bogut and Brook Lopez now the experienced vets at the 5, and young guys like Ivica Zubac and Thomas Bryant there as well, there might be fewer opportunities for Walton to get the versatile Julius Randle some time at center in small-ball lineups—which would be a potentially explosive crunch-time look.
Regardless, the Lakers, one of the 10 worst teams in rebounding last season, have added big-man depth, and whether they’re in need of defense or rebounding, there now will be no shortage of 7-footers in Lakerland.