Andrew Bogut will become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season and it is interesting to determine prior to the start of the season just what his financial value is.
The Aussie’s camp probably would have preferred for the big man to enter free agency during the 2013 offseason given his monster defensive showing during the 2013 playoffs.
The Golden State Warriors morphed into a wrecking ball with Bogut on the floor defensively during the postseason and it allowed them to eliminate the Denver Nuggets and go toe-to-toe with the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals.
He is slated to earn $14 million in 2013-14 and it is possible he could have earned himself another multi-year deal within that range annually.
However, Golden State’s starting center was not as productive or dominant defensively during the course of the 2012-13 campaign. Bogut was often a step late rotating to the ball and also struggled to participate in games.
So we will sort through these issues to figure out what is the actual amount the Dubs should entertain to re-sign Bogut.
Andrew Bogut appeared in a mere 32 games during the 2012-13 regular season and that has been somewhat consistent with the entirety of his career. Since joining the league in 2005-06, the Warriors’ anchor has appeared in all 82 games only once (rookie season).
Furthermore, his teams have seen him suit up for 70 games or more only twice. Needless to say, his durability is somewhat questionable, which puts a dent in his contract negotiations.
Mourning at his best was a terrorizing defensive force as well as a solid offensive option. However, he never once played in all 82 games and four times in his career he appeared in less than 40 games (lockout season not included).
Mutombo on the other hand often played in all 82 contests (five times) and appeared in less than 40 games a mere three times. Also, he has twice the amount of seasons in which he’s played 70 games or more in comparison to Mourning (12 seasons for Mutombo and six for his counterpart).
If we bring the discussion back to Bogut, his health concerns are similar to Joakim Noah’s.
Bogut is a year older than Noah and has played two more seasons than him but their career PERs are incredibly close, with the Chicago center holding a slight edge with his 17.8 figure compared to Bogut’s 16.8.
Noah is a slightly better passer but he is also slightly more turnover prone. He is currently signed until the conclusion of the 2015-16 season to a salary that averages to roughly $12 million annually.
Logic would dictate that both players make the same amount on a yearly basis, although one can argue that Noah is the better overall player by virtue of his superior lateral mobility.
The Florida product covers more ground and can even switch onto perimeter players without getting embarrassed. Thus, any tentative offer for Bogut probably has to be less than what Noah is making.
Andrew Bogut showed an ability to score early in his career with the Milwaukee Bucks but he has slowly evolved into a defensive player more than anything. In his last season with the Golden State Warriors, he averaged 5.8 points per game on 45.5 percent field goal shooting.
Those are hardly the numbers of a stud low-post scorer. Nonetheless, the big man did average 11.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per 36 minutes in 2012-13. When looking around the league for defensive centers at a similar age (to avoid comparing rookie contracts) that produce nearly identical numbers, we came up with a short list. Here are there names coupled with their salaries for 2013-14:
- Emeka Okafor, $14.4 million
- Roy Hibbert, $14.2 million
- Tyson Chandler, $14.1 million
- Joakim Noah, $11.1 million
- DeAndre Jordan, $11 million
- Omer Asik, $8.4 million
Because we were looking for exclusively defensive oriented centers as opposed to two-way big men, Dwight Howard was excluded from the list. Also, it is worth noting that although Roy Hibbert’s name made the cut, he is technically overqualified given the offensive responsibilities he has for his team.
Emeka Okafor is the highest paid player of the group, which seems surprising at first glance. However, he is one of the most durable of the bunch and also happens to average close to 30 minutes per game since 2010-11, whereas the other players are either injured often or play limited minutes.
As an example, Tyson Chandler has averaged 31.1 minutes since 2010-11, but he has only appeared in more than 70 games once during that stretch. One could point to the fact that Okafor only played in 27 games in 2011-12 as a sign that perhaps he too is injury prone, but his overall career suggests otherwise.
Indeed, in his nine seasons in the league, he has appeared in 70 games or more six times. The durability probably gives him a slight edge over his counterparts, but it does not necessarily make him a better player, just a more reliable one. In the big picture when discussing production, it matters.
Nonetheless, they all share salaries that are quite comparable save for Omer Asik. The market previously dictated that the best defense-first centers in the game were worth somewhere between $8 million and $14 million per year.
The difference probably lies not only in production, but also the ability to defend multiple schemes. For instance, Chandler patrols the paint and blows up pick-and-rolls in multiple ways and that makes him a rare and thus precious commodity.
Bogut on the other hand is a great anchor on the interior but cannot jump out on the perimeter and bottle up a pick-and-roll in the same manner as Chandler. That in turn makes him a lesser player and thus less valuable in comparison (much like Noah). Mind you, they will make the same salary in 2013-14.
If Andrew Bogut can reproduce his level of play from 2012-13 in 2013-14, there should be a contract averaging around $11.5 million annually waiting for him during the 2014 summer.
Obviously his health will be a huge factor in potentially increasing or decreasing the dollar figures, but that seems like the amount the Australian big man will be presented.
Over at ESPN.com, Amin Elhassan did this exercise (not as in-depth but still a terrific read) for the top 30 free agents of 2014 and rated Bogut as 13th overall (Insider):
“A four-year, $50 million deal (AAV: $12.5 million) reflects the value of a starting center in the league while discounting for Bogut’s injury history.”
Once the 2014 offseason kicks in, the Golden State Warriors will more than likely tender an offer within this range to retain the services of the center. However, should he miss huge parts of the season again, it is quite possible the center will see a lesser offer.
Potentially, this may result in Bogut testing the free-agent market and signing elsewhere. But he is a fit with the Warriors and allows them to play big and small with everything revolving around his play.
It sure feels as though the 2014 free-agent class will be a big one and the Warriors stand to be affected.
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