Free Agency 2014

Warriors, Bogut Begin Negotiations

Andrew Bogut is ready to get down to business with the Warriors once he returns to the States.

Andrew Bogut is ready to get down to business with the Warriors once he returns to the States.

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.”

Intriguing teams?

“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.

Looking At The Top Free Agents of 2014

By Jonathan Hartzell, NBA.com

The 2013 free-agency period is nearly complete, which means we’re now less than a year away from 2014′s open market, and I guess that means it’s time to get excited. Pop the bubbly and get ready for a mid-summer free-agency ranking!

(Note No. 1: The following ranking does not include the five players (LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Amar’e Stoudemire) who have early termination options in their contracts. All of these players could become unrestricted free agents if they invoke the option before June 30th, 2014. None of these players have invoked the option yet, so to me they’re not upcoming free agents. Let’s move on.)

(Note No. 2: Teams with restricted free agents have until October 31 to agree to a contract extension. Many of the players on this list will be extended before the deadline and, thus, not free agents next summer. But none of these players has been extended yet, so to me they’re all still upcoming free agents. Let’s continue to move on.)

10. Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors

2012-13 Regular Season Stats: 5.8 PPG (.451 FG%), 7.7 RPG, 1.7 BPG

The former first overall pick is still battling back from a devastating arm injury suffered in 2010 and lingering ankle and back issues. But he seemed to hit his stride at points for the Warriors last season as his elite defensive play makes him a valuable commodity. He was arguably the second-best center in the league before his injury in 2010 and the former All-NBA third team selection should have plenty of suitors next summer if he stays healthy.

9. Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Four

2012-13 Regular Season Stats: 13.8 PPG (.426 FG%), 6.3 RPG, 3.0 APG

This may be the last season in Chicago for the Bulls’ defensive stopper. Deng played major minutes last season (38.7 per game) but the emergence of Jimmy Butler may cause his role to be reduced. The former Duke Blue Devil has seen his shooting percentages dip over the last two seasons and those will need to improve if the 28-year-old hopes for lucrative offers next summer. But even if they don’t, he should receive significant interest for his defensive ability alone.

8. Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz (restricted)

San Antonio Spurs v Utah Jazz - Game Four

2012-13 Regular Season Stats: 9.4 PPG (.482 FG%), 7.1 RPG, 1.7 BPG (in 23.2 minutes per game)

Favors spent his first 2 1/2 seasons in Utah stuck behind veteran big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. But this will no longer be a problem for Favors as both players left the Jazz during free agency. Increased playing time will benefit the third overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft as he has shown incredible skill during limited minutes. It seems likely the Jazz will do whatever it takes to retain their 22-year-old franchise building block.

7. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers

2012-13 Regular Season Stats: 13.7 PPG (.466 FG%), 8.6 RPG, 4.1 APG

The four-time All-Star has been limited by injuries and a tumultuous situation in Los Angeles over the past two seasons. He has talent, and at only 32 years old, he could still play a significant role on a championship contender. His recent dip in production could be attributed to an adjusted role in the Lakers’ offense which has moved him away from areas he’s historically been successful. If these problems can be fixed by coach Mike D’Antoni, then Gasol should see increased value next summer.

6. Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons (restricted)

Detroit Pistons vs Miami Heat

2012-13 Regular Season Stats: 16.0 PPG (.486 FG%), 9.6 RPG, 3.5 APG

The 23-year-old Pistons’ big man has shown a lot of promise on offense but his below-average defense stunts his contract potential. His value also may be negatively affected by his likely reduced shots next season due to the Pistons’ high-volume free-agent additions of Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith. But Monroe has clearly displayed immense potential during his first three seasons in Detroit and he will receive heavy interest during the 2014 free-agency period.  

5. Larry Sanders, Milwaukee Bucks (restricted)

Milwaukee Bucks v Minnesota Timberwolves

2012-13 Regular Season Stats: 9.8 PPG (.506 FG%), 9.5 RPG, 2.8 BPG (in 27.3 minutes per game)

The Bucks are reportedly close to a contract extension with Sanders, but if that deal somehow falls through then he would be one of the best free agents available. Last season was a breakout year for the 24-year-old center out of VCU and he showed elite defensive skills once he secured playing time. Sanders could become an All-Star in the next few seasons if he is able to control his fouls and temper.

4. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings (restricted)

Sacramento Kings  v Denver Nuggets

2012-13 Regular Season Stats: 17.1 PPG (.465 FG%), 9.9 RPG, 2.7 APG

Most people want to believe in the potential of Cousins, but it’s hard when he expends such little effort on defense. New Kings coach Michael Malone believes he can reach the 22-year-old center. If he can, the Kings will have themselves an elite big man. The potential of Cousins makes it likely Sacramento will try to secure him with a new contract before free agency starts. However, the potential he never puts it together mentally may make it difficult for any team to offer him a max contract.

3. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four

2012-13 Regular Season Stats: 17.3 PPG (.471 FG%), 6.8 RPG, 2.5 APG

The Mavericks’ roster moves over the past three seasons make it easy to forget that Dallas won the championship in 2011. The Mavericks struggled last season as Nowitzki battled early-season injuries and the lack of talent on their roster proved to be a problem. But Nowitzki’s desire for another championship remains high and he may seek a title shot elsewhere should the Mavericks struggle again. He’d find plenty of suitors, too, because which championship contender wouldn’t want to add one of the best scorers in league history?

2. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers

2012-13 Regular Season Stats: 27.3 PPG (.463 FG%), 6.0 APG, 5.6 RPG

Take a moment to imagine Bryant in any other jersey than the Lakers. Any other team. Maybe the Bulls. Or Jazz. Or Bobcats. It looks weird no matter which team you choose and it seems likely he’ll never leave the purple and gold. But if he did leave he’d cause chaos in the basketball universe and force us all to reconsider what life really means. None of this will matter, though, if he is unable to return from the Achilles tendon injury he suffered late last season.

1. Paul George, Indiana Pacers (restricted)

Indiana Pacers v Golden State Warriors

2012-13 Regular Season Stats: 17.4 PPG (.419 FG%), 7.6 RPG, 4.1 APG

The 23-year-old George fully embraced his new role as the lead man in Indiana last season and soon he will be rewarded with a giant new contract. It’s hard to think of any reason the Pacers would let the future of their franchise leave and they’ll probably lock him up before the October 31 deadline. But if he hits the open market (like Bryant), then we may experience a summer crazier than the one we just finished.

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Honorable Mentions: Paul Pierce, Brooklyn Nets; Marcin Gortat, Phoenix Suns; Greivis Vasquez, Sacramento Kings (restricted); Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers; Ed Davis, Memphis Grizzlies (restricted); Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City Thunder; Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors; Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz (restricted); Ray Allen, Miami Heat; Vince Carter, Dallas Mavericks; Ben Gordon, Charlotte Bobcats; Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Bulls; Ramon Sessions, Charlotte Bobcats