There will be a number of suitors in pursuit of Bogut, who is also eligible to return to the Warriors because he was traded from Dallas to Philadelphia. He is ineligible to return only to the team that most recently traded him, which in this case is the Mavericks. So if the Warriors want him back, they may pursue him. The Cavs have long had their eye on Bogut, but they’ll have competition for him – primarily from the Houston Rockets.
For the record, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday that he didn’t anticipate the team would add another big man, per the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau. Also, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Thursday that the San Antonio Spurs will try to sign Bogut. If this indeed comes down to Cavs vs. Rockets, though, then he has an interesting decision to make. Both teams want him to boost their defense and help them make a run at the Warriors.
Bogut, who was traded from the Dallas Mavericks to the Philadelphia 76ers before Thursday’s deadline and is expected to be released, might not be offered a starting spot on either team. If he signs with the Rockets, though, he will probably be promised a larger role as Clint Capela’s backup. On offense, Houston primarily needs its big men to set on-ball screens and roll hard to the rim, and he’s certainly capable of doing that. He’d also be excellent at helping the Rockets’ shooters get open.
If he signs with the Cavaliers, I’d be curious about his role. It makes sense that he’d get plenty of minutes now with Kevin Love out of the lineup, but Cleveland typically likes to space the floor with shooters when it goes to the second unit. Last season, big man Timofey Mozgov never really got a chance to work his way back into the rotation after an injury because the Cavs were playing so well with a frontcourt rotation of Love, Tristan Thompson, Channing Frye and an occasional dose of LeBron James at the four spot. If Bogut is simply an emergency option when the team needs rim protection, then he’s overqualified for the role.
Free agents generally pick their teams based on a combination of factors, from role to money to the quality of the team and how they feel about the city. While Cleveland obviously gives Bogut the best chance of returning to the NBA Finals, no contender has as much money to offer him as Houston does. There’s a lot of talk about the Cavs potentially adding Bogut and Deron Williams, but it would be unwise to dismiss the Rockets.