Veteran center Andrew Bogut is in the midst of helping the Golden State Warriors pursue their third consecutive NBA championship, but regardless of how the playoff run turns out, he plans to return to the Sydney Kings of the NBL for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
Bogut signed a two-year deal with the Kings last April, and he plans to honor that deal, despite potential interest from other NBA teams.
"The be all and end all is that I gave my word [to the Kings]," Bogut said, via the NBL. "That is basically what it comes down to ... I could potentially have to turn down a deal from somebody at the end of this playoff run if I continue to play well. Someone outside of the Warriors could offer me a deal that would be pretty lucrative and a decent one-year deal. But I'm sold and locked in on coming to the Sydney Kings again to try and better what we did last season."
Bogut, 34, averaged 11.4 points, 11.6 boards and 2.7 blocks per game for the Kings last season, and was named the NBL's Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year.
"I really enjoyed my time in the NBL," Bogut said. "I learnt a lot of different things playing in the league and I enjoyed being at home and just promoting the game. It is kind of an ambassador role where I'm trying to promote basketball and the NBL."
When Bogut signed with the Kings last April, he said that he was hoping that by playing in the NBL himself, other Australian stars playing elsewhere would decide to come back and play in the league as well.
"I wanna come back here and be fully committed," Bogut said at the time. "It's like, I'm staying. I'm committed to you guys. I wanna be in Australia. Like I said, if I'm gonna commit to it, I'm gonna commit to it. I'm not gonna come in here for a marketing gig. I think that would set the game back further than not doing anything at all. I don't think it's the right message to send. Hopefully, this starts and sets a precedent for when other guys wanna come back. This is an opportunity for them."
Though Bogut admitted that his current run with the Warriors will likely be his last stint in the NBA, he didn't rule out a potential return to the league after the NBL season ends again next spring.
"It's more that this is a bonus for my career," Bogut said. "It's the cherry on top and it will probably be my last year in the NBA. But if something happens where I am healthy and feeling good at the end of the next NBL year and they call again and want to do it, then I'm all ears."
In 11 regular-season games with the Warriors this season, Bogut averaged 3.5 points, five rebounds and one assist in 12.2 minutes per game. He has seen his role increase in the postseason following the quad injury suffered by DeMarcus Cousins, as he has been moved into the team's starting lineup.