SHANGHAI, China – The Warriors and Andrew Bogut have opened negotiations on a contract extension designed to keep him off the free-agent market in July, he told NBA.com, with Bogut willing to make major concessions to stay but also looking for payback from management for pursuing Dwight Howard last offseason.
Bogut said team officials started conversations with agent David Bauman last week, before the Warriors left Oakland for exhibition games in Beijing and Shanghai against the Lakers. Bogut expects talks to heat up once Golden State returns to the United States following the Friday night contest (7:30 a.m. ET, NBA TV). The issue will come to some resolution by early in the regular season: either he will have a new deal soon or he will become a free agent because neither side wants the discussions dragging long into 2013-14.
Bogut said the initial numbers from the Warriors, “weren’t insulting. But they weren’t what I’m looking for. Nothing concrete has been actually formally written up. We’ve just been going back and forth, but nothing too crazy.”
Not insulting is encouraging — the sides are starting in the same vicinity.
Additionally, in a move that creates more common ground on what could have been a contentious point, Bogut is willing to accept a deal with incentive clauses based on games played, a nod to his battle with injuries. Management would obviously like the idea of protecting itself, a give-back it didn’t get a year ago in negotiations with Stephen Curry, who had his own health issues but got his extension fully guaranteed.
“Just based on the fact that my last two injuries I can’t control,” Bogut said. “If these were chronic injuries from lack of conditioning or not working out in the summer or being a fat slob, I can understand the caution. But would I do things to the extent that Andrew Bynum’s done with his contract? Hell no. The clauses that he has, there’s no chance I would sign a contract. But basically having game incentives — whatever the number is, 60, 70, whatever it is — I have no problem. I think that’s only fair.”
The compromise from the Warriors in what would likely be a three-year extension, tacked on to the end of 2013-14 as the final season of the current deal on the books for $14.2 million, will be the larger payments if Bogut reaches the incentives.
And there is the Howard factor. The Warriors were one of the final five contenders as the Dwightmare played out in free agency, which would have meant trading Bogut, though how close they came to pulling off the Andre Igoudala-Howard double or committing to Howard rather than Igoudala has never been clear. General manager Bob Myers said in the summer Howard’s camp was upfront with the Warriors being longshots, but owner Joe Lacob told Sean Deveney of Sporting News in October that “We were a lot closer than people realize to that actually happening.”
Bogut watched and agreed with the pursuit of Howard. But he also remembered. He plans to remember all the way to the negotiating table.
“Oh, of course,” he told NBA.com “A hundred percent. Yeah. It’s nothing personal between business. I definitely remember that. That’s just a part of the NBA and a part of business. You want to get as much as you can for your worth and they want to get as much as they can out of you and they want to get as much as they can from anyone.
“I definitely don’t believe that there was nothing there. I believe there was something there. And if I was sitting in the GM’s position with the Golden State Warriors, I’d make that deal. It’s a future Hall of Fame center for a guy that was banged up and struggled through a season. I can’t take personally. It’s a business. They’re trying to get better. Obviously it does play on your mind a little bit in the offseason, but that’s part of business. At the same time, if I do become a free agent, I’m going do what I can to do what’s best for myself.”
Asked if he has started to look at other teams and consider how he would fit, Bogut said: “Not any thought. Not any thought at all, to be honest. And I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t like to and I wouldn’t want to during the season. I’m committed to the Golden State Warriors right now, to be here. But my agent has told me there’s been some teams that have been calling. My agent’s told me there are some teams that are very interested and are prepared to sign me. We’ll see what’s that worth and go from there.”
But does he know the teams?
“Yeah. I’m not going to let that out yet. A couple of teams in the West.”
“I mean, somewhat, yeah,” Bogut responded. “Like I said, California state tax plays a big part in things. But first and foremost, I want to be here. I do want to be here. But under the right circumstances obviously.”
The tampering claims will almost certainly never come to light. But Bogut either feels very secure about his options in July if he doesn’t reach a deal now with the Warriors or is doing a good selling job. It’s playing the negotiating game. It may also become payback for last summer.
Bogut is also choosing between an extension now at a maximum of three years or waiting to become a free agent and being able to get a lot more money with a four-year deal. He said, though, he will sign now and give up the additional season if the money is right.