Bogut still wants long-term deal with Bucks

Less than 24 hours after getting a new head coach, Bucks center Andrew Bogut announced Tuesday that he was impressed with the the direction the team is headed, reasserting that he wants to “remain in a Bucks uniform for many years to come.” 

“The main thing is I like what I heard from John Hammond about the direction the Bucks are moving towards. We all want to win next year and I know the fans want to win. I have come to love Milwaukee and its fans, I have adopted it as my home, and I would like to be here long-term,” Bogut said from Melbourne, Australia in a press release issued Tuesday by his agent, David Bauman.   (Found it on PR Newswire.)

So what’s new there? Bogut made similar comments during the season, back in March, oddly enough, after Larry Harris was fired and there was no GM to negotiate with. This time, however, Bogut’s commitment to stay with the Bucks and Milwaukee came not only after conversations with new GM Hammond and on the heels of the Scott Skiles hire — it came with the strongest statements to date from Bogut and his agent about renegotiating. One could (and should) even call it a bargaining position.

Bogut, 23, wants a long term deal — extending beyond the one-year $6.3 million option the Bucks have on their center next season, Bogut’s fourth in the NBA.  As a three-year pro he is eligible to sign up to an additional five-year extension. Bogut also wants to get it done as early as possible this summer, before he joins the Australian Olympic team.

“As for any negotiations, I leave all business matters to my agent David Bauman. As David explained the rules to me, if we are successful in agreeing to a long-term contract extension on July 1, which is my hope, I would not be able to sign a contract until July 9, 2008, at the earliest,” Bogut continued. “Given my commitment to the Australian National Team, I told David if we are going to agree to a new deal to get it done quickly with Mr. Hammond and Senator Kohl, so that I can join my Australian teammates and put any contract thoughts behind me.”

July 9 is the earliest that Bogut could sign due to the NBA contract-signing moratorium. That’s the best case scenario.

Worst case scenario is the two sides can’t strike a deal and the Bucks exercise the $6.3 million extension, sending an unhappy young center back to Australia without the long-term deal he wants. While $6.3 million is a lot of money to be unhappy about, this would be bad news for Bucks fans. The last thing we need is the least of the team’s problems, the center, becoming a potential headache for coach Skiles, who had enough contract headaches last year in Chicago. He would then become a free agent in 2009, a pricey, contentious process Hammond will not likely risk.

Bogut’s agent, Bauman, is confident he can get it done and said he did not “anticipate any major issues with the Bucks this summer. I have a great relationship with new-General Manager John Hammond, as well as with team owner Senator Kohl.”

“Andrew has improved each of his three years in the NBA, and he has established himself as one of the top young centers in the NBA and a key component of the Buck’s future,” Bauman went on. “Andrew’s goal is to remain with Milwaukee for the long-term, and to turn them into a winning team, and we have heard nothing but positive things from the Bucks. Yesterday’s hiring of Scott Skiles is yet another positive step in the right direction for the Bucks franchise.”

Another important thing to note here, for our Australian readers, is that it sounds as though Bogut is planning to hold off on reporting to the Aussie Olympic team if a long-term contract is in the works. (How did Journal Sentinel miss some of this stuff?)

“Andrew is very patriotic and passionate about playing for his country and he will do everything in his power to ensure that he is ready and available for the Olympics. Unfortunately the delay in joining the Boomers (that’s the name of the Aussie National Team) for their training camp is out of his control. I am confident that this will be resolved in time for Andrew to join the Boomers in camp back in Australia by mid-July,” said Bruce Kaider, Director of One Management Group & Consulting.

In other words, if it doesn’t get done as quickly as Bauman anticipates, the Aussie Boomers may have to wait a little while longer than they already are. 

(Kaider and One Management are agent #2, in charge of marketing Bogut on the Pacific rim. Age 23, two agents, two seperate marketing firms.) The Aussie Boomers said, no problem, they can wait “until July.”

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That’s the Aussie Olympic side of things, handled neatly in a single press release. Next issue is the bottom line in Milwaukee. Beyond “many years to come” and “long-term,” Bogut and his agent have left the rest to the negotiations. According to the Bogut camp, GM Hammond seems more than willing to talk long-term deal. Remember, as a fourth year player, Bogut is eligible under the players’ collective bargaining agreement to add five years to his current one-year extension.

What is Andrew Bogut worth over five years in today’s NBA?  What might the Bucks be willing or able to pay him?

I’ll take a stab at those questions (plus or minus some of the complications and the unusual spin) later today in the next Bob Boozer Jinx post. 

For starters, let’s just say Bogut is surely looking to be paid more than Mo Williams (five years – $44 million to go) and Bobby Simmons (2 years – $20 million left) ….

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