Andrew Bogut joins Cleveland Cavaliers after dealing with 'immigration issues'
Tom Withers | The Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — A little fuzzy after a few weary days of house hunting and getting acclimated to a new city, Andrew Bogut walked into his first shootaround with the Cavaliers and was handed a new practice jersey.
He normally wears 6, but that was taken.
“LeBron got me already,” Bogut said, smiling. “I wasn’t aware that LeBron wears a No. 6 at practice, so they gave me a 6.5. I thought it was 65 at first. It was a good joke. I’ll get him back.”
The Cavs welcomed their new Australian import on Monday as Bogut, who faced Cleveland in the past two NBA Finals with Golden State, suited up to face the Miami Heat. After an issue with his visa — he jokingly blamed “the Russians” — prevented him from participating in the shootaround, the 7-footer said he was excited to join a team with a legitimate shot at winning another title.
“It was a tough decision,” Bogut said. “It came down to two teams, Boston and Cleveland, and I decided to go with Cleveland, obviously. It’s the best opportunity to try to win a championship playing with one of the best, if not the best, players to play the game. It was a tough decision, in a way, because of the history but I can’t control it. I got traded so I ended up having the luxury of having four or five teams recruit me, which is a nice thing to have.
“But at the end of the day, I thought Cleveland was the best chance.”
The Cavaliers are thrilled to have the former No. 1 overall pick, who gives them frontcourt depth, a rim protector and even more postseason experience.
He’ll fit right in with the team’s veteran-laden group.
And, although he might not say so publicly, Bogut is motivated to get back to the Finals and perhaps face the Warriors, who traded him to Dallas last summer when they were opening salary-cap space to sign Kevin Durant.
“You always say you want to get back at them,” he said. “You know, it’s nothing to do with them. I wasn’t making this decision based on Golden State. I was making this decision based on what the best opportunity was. I’m a free agent at season’s end and a chance to get another ring would be absolutely awesome.”
Bogut’s arrival caps a mid-season overhaul of Cleveland’s roster, with general manager David Griffin adding Kyle Korver, Derrick Williams and Deron Williams to a team already featuring James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
The Cavs are loaded with talent, and Bogut only gives them more.
He understands playing time may be hard to come by, but Bogut isn’t making any demands. He’ll accept whatever role the Cavs have in mind.
“Coming in you have a discussion with every team which you take with a grain of salt, which isn’t disrespecting anybody,” he said. “You never want to have somebody tell you, `Oh, you’re going to play 20 minutes or 30 minutes.’ No, that’s stupid. You never know the flow of the game or matchups. Teams play small now. So there was no point of emphasis. First and foremost: Rebounding the ball, passing the ball, seeing guys open, I think they know what I can provide.
“So there will be games like tonight against those kind of teams that have a lot of bigs and there will be games against the Golden States of the world where you don’t have to play as much because they’ll go small.”
Known for his candor, Bogut also has a dry sense of humor. He was asked if he spoke with former Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova, an Olympic teammate, on what to expect in Cleveland.
“He told me terrible things,” Bogut said. “Said it’s a terrible city. He hates it. He told me to buy his coffee, the Delly coffee. He just gave me some information on where to live. I asked him kind of what areas he liked. He only had good things to say about Cleveland.”
As for his visa problem, Bogut joked that he got that worked out with help from another friend.
“I called Vladimir Putin and got it done,” Bogut cracked.