The Golden State Warriors needed to shed some payroll to give Kevin Durant a max contract. That's exactly what they did on July 5, agreeing to trade Andrew Bogut to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks announced the deal on Thursday.
Marc Stein of ESPN reported the news on July 4.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported that the Mavericks will send a second-round pick to the Warriors in exchange for Bogut, citing sources.
Shortly after the Warriors' crushing loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, Golden State majority owner Joe Lacob made it clear his team wasn't going to stand pat this summer.
"All I can say is I will be very aggressive," he told Stein.
Many read that as Lacob tacitly confirming Golden State would attempt to sign Durant. At the very least, some upheaval with the current roster was likely. Durant set that process in motion by announcing he would join the Warriors in an article on the Players' Tribune on Monday.
On June 29, Monty Poole of CSN Bay Area reported the Warriors front office was growing exasperated with Bogut and that "they'd like to move Bogut as much if not more than anyone else," adding:
Though Warriors coach Steve Kerr is committed to having a versatile lineup, able to play big or small, the team has grown frustrated by Bogut's unreliability, particularly in times of greatest need. Because he turns 32 in November, it's unrealistic to expect much to change.
Bogut's well-documented injury history, according to sources, accounts for only part of the team's annoyance. He missed the last two games of the NBA Finals after sustaining multiple bone bruises in his left knee when landing awkwardly after colliding with stumbling Cleveland guard JR Smith in Game 5 at Oracle Arena.
Bogut's offensive contributions left something to be desired in 2015-16, but he made up for his lack of scoring in other areas. According to Basketball-Reference.com, he averaged 9.3 points per 36 minutes—the second-lowest output of his career—but also chipped in 12.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per 36, both of which were well above his career averages.
Bogut remained a strong rim protector, too. The Warriors allowed 5.8 fewer points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, per NBA.com, and the 31-year-old saved 2.10 points per 36 minutes at the rim, per Nylon Calculus.
According to NBA.com, opposing shooters shot nearly 10 percentage points lower than their average when matched up against Bogut inside:
|Andrew Bogut—FG% Against|
|Distance||FGM||FGA||FG%||Opp Avg. FG%||Diff.|
|Less Than Six Feet||166||329||50.5%||60.4%||-9.9%|
|Less Than 10 Feet||205||432||47.5%||54.9%||-7.5%|
|Greater Than 15 Feet||72||190||37.9%||37.9%||0.0%|
In some ways, this trade is similar to when the Warriors sent David Lee to the Boston Celtics last summer. Moving Lee allowed Draymond Green to take an even bigger role on the team, and Golden State set a regular-season record with 73 victories.
The trouble for the Warriors this time around is they don't have a clear succession plan. The Warriors have to renounce the rights to Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli to get enough room under the cap to sign Durant. That leaves first-round pick Damian Jones as the only traditional center on their roster. Green may wind up playing the position on a full-time basis in 2016-17.
It's easy to overlook Bogut's impact as a passer. While he didn't score a high volume of points, he helped set up the Warriors' three-point shooters. According to NBA.com, Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were the three most frequent recipients of his passes. All three also shot a higher percentage from beyond the arc than their season averages:
|Andrew Bogut's Passing Distribution|
Those numbers don't appear to be a coincidence, either. The Warriors' effective field-goal and true shooting percentages were higher when Bogut was on the floor (57.4 eFG%, 59.5 TS%) compared to when he was off (55.6 eFG%, 59.1 TS%), per NBA.com.
Trading Bogut is a no-brainer here. You spare no expense to land a guy like Durant.
For the Mavericks, it creates a little bit of a "Warriors South" buzz around their roster. In addition to Bogut, they have a verbal agreement with Barnes on a four-year, $94 million max contract, per Stein. After failing to land Hassan Whiteside, losing Chandler Parsons and striking out again in free agency, Dallas appears to be pivoting yet again in an uncertain direction.
With Dirk Nowitzki still technically a free agent, he's staring at the prospect of perhaps another first-round postseason exit even after this Bogut deal.