Monday, September 12, 2011

Australia?s NBL wants Andrew Bogut, and Andrew Bogut Tweets right back

Thursday we told you about the Australian National Basketball League's interest in signing Aussie center Andrew Bogut to a deal, and how the Adelaide 76ers 36ers were leading the charge.

Now a bigger, badder NBL crew apparently wants to hire Bogut's services. The Perth Wildcats, owners of five NBL championships (the most in league history), and flush with the insurance cash on hand to make a pitch to the defensive-minded Milwaukee Bucks center. Well, not exactly "flush," but at least in the mood to spend the half a million AUS dollars needed to insure the big man should an NBL injury cost him the remaining three years and $39 million on his NBA contract.

Here's the story, via Hoopshype, from The West Australian:

[Wildcats managing director Nick] Marvin spoke to Bogut's agent yesterday and has asked for an exact figure on how much the injury insurance would cost.

If negotiations progress, the Wildcats would seek financial support from the government and corporate sectors.

Marvin said the benefits of Bogut playing in Perth would be felt not just by the Wildcats, but by the wider WA community.

The 26-year-old was the No.1 NBA draft pick in 2005 and is in the prime of his career.

"For Andrew Bogut to play for us, and if that is the only hurdle we have to cross, I would hope that government and corporate Western Australia would support us and make it work," Marvin said.

"I don't have $500,000 sitting in my back pocket, but would it be important to the people of Western Australia? Absolutely."

Bogut, ever mindful of something called "leverage," also posted this on his Twitter account Thursday:

Sound move, throwing each team into the mix.

I pointed out Thursday that Bogut would be perfect for the NBL, and meant it, but not in the way that some of you might assume.

Australia is a basketball-mad country, but they've seen enough NBA hoops for decades to understand the game enough and how the NBL compares. Bogut is not the typical flash star to come over, chuck long jumpers, and excite fair-weather crowds that are just there to see the NBA star slumming as he nails another 3-pointer.

No, Bogut is perfect to potentially play in the NBL for several more important reasons.

First? He takes care of his money, outside of spending some rainy day cash on ancient Ford, Holden (he swings both ways) or Dodge muscle cars. Secondly, the Croatian-born big man appears to identify more than the country he was raised in (Oz), rather than the country he was born in, or is (or "was," I suppose) employed in (America). The man's an Aussie through and through.

Most importantly, to hoop-heads? They'll appreciate Bogut's basketball instincts and game-changing ways much more than any other offensive-minded star that could make the leap, with or without Bogut's Aussie heritage. It hardly matters that he's a dead set legend over there, they know the game, and they appreciate what he can do to it. That is to say, guard just about three guys at once while still closing out on the defensive rebound after the miss he helped cause.

Seems like a match made in Pacific blue heaven.

(Still, end the lockout. We selfish Yanks would much prefer to see Bogut in chilly Milwaukee in late October.)


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