Golden State Warriors Taking Huge Risk in Andrew Bogut Deal

D.J. FosterContributor IOctober 25, 2013

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Another offseason is nearly in the books, and another big extension has been handed out by the Golden State Warriors

Last year, it was Stephen Curry getting locked up to a long-term deal. This time around, it's Andrew Bogut pulling down the big payday.

Bogut has signed three-year deal with a base salary of $36 million, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Incentives can push total deal to $42M-plus.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) October 25, 2013

Offering an extension to an injury-prone player is always risky business, but perhaps the Warriors were feeling invincible after the way last season's gamble on Curry paid off.

Curry is now widely considered one of the most underpaid players in the league, and surely the Warriors are hoping the same will be said about Bogut next year.

This is another leap of faith for the Warriors, but the distance to cover is a little more drastic than it was with Curry's extension. Bogut played in just 32 games last season for the club, and he didn't exactly have your typical "contract-year performance" that you might expect given the size of this new deal.

Bogut's 8.5 points per 36 minutes, 13.8 PER and 46.3 percent true shooting percentage were all the worst numbers of his eight-year career. Unfortunately, that was just a continuation of a downhill trajectory. 

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Since dislocating his elbow back in 2010, Bogut has failed to shoot over 50 percent from the field for a full season. Bogut has also shot just 46.4 percent from the foul line since that time.

More importantly, the Australian native has missed 104 games over the past two seasons due to injuries, which he has failed to dodge his entire career. In addition to the gruesome elbow injury, Bogut has also broken his left ankle and been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back. A lot of his injuries have resulted from bad luck and hard falls, but either way, Bogut hasn't been able to stay on the court.

Armed with that knowledge, you would think that Golden State would push for a deal that was largely incentive-based, but Bogut balked at the suggestion. The $36 million base extension includes incentives that could push the salary to $42 million if Bogut remains healthy, but there is no easy way out for Golden State if Bogut can't stay on the floor.

Taking a risk on Bogut's health is one thing, but ignoring his decline since the injuries is another. Bogut simply isn't the offensive player he once was, and he has yet to show any signs that he ever will be again. While he's an incredibly skilled passer and great at setting screens, Bogut is very limited as a scorer and is a liability late in games at the line.

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Of course, the big man is getting paid almost solely for his tremendous impact on the defensive side of the ball. There's no doubting that Bogut is still an excellent rim protector and defensive rebounder, and those type of players fetch a pretty penny on the open market. 

Still, it is odd that Golden State wasn't able to receive a discount whatsoever during this negotiation, unlike it did with Curry.

Tiago Splitter's extension with the San Antonio Spurs for $9 million per year would seem like a more appropriate benchmark, as the two big men provide similar production and are the same age. How Bogut commanded $3 million more per season, fully guaranteed, with his health issues, with incentives, coming off the worst year of his career is a bit of a mystery. 

The problem is, Golden State is paying full price for a player who is never at full health. The leverage should have been with the Warriors, but the fear of being without a center in the future might have been enough to nix that. Extending for three years instead of four is a victory, but it's a minor one given the size of the deal.

Golden State is set up nicely for the future, no doubt, and the type of defense Bogut can bring is sorely needed with any team that starts David Lee at power forward. The match is right, but it's still hard to shake the feeling that the price was wrong.