OAKLAND - It's official: Andrew Bogut is back with the Warriors.
Bogut, who had to receive clearance from his current team, the Sydney Kings of Australia's NBL, agreed to a veteran's minimum deal with the Warriors this week. The team announced the signing Wednesday morning.
With Golden State thin in the frontcourt and the team's need for a defensive presence, the Warriors seemed more than happy to welcome an old friend to the fold during the stretch run.
"We're excited about [Bogut] coming in," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We looked at this as an insurance policy in the frontcourt. A guy who obviously knows our players, half of them."
Bogut, who played for the Warriors from 2012 until 2016, played the majority of this season in his native Australia. He averaged 11.4 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.7 blocks per game for the Kings, winning MVP of the league.
When the 13-year NBA veteran signed with the Australian team less than a year ago after being bought out by the Lakers, he expressed doubt he'd even play in the NBA. He told The Daily Telegraph in Australia, "This is my official retirement from the NBA... I have no want to go back there, regardless of offers that I get."
However, two months ago, with Damian Jones tearing his left pectoral muscle in December and DeMarcus Cousins still rehabbing, Golden State and Bogut's representation chatted about his availability, according to Kerr.
Recently, Warriors assistant general manager Larry Harris traveled to Australia to see Bogut's progress and if he'd be a fit with the team. With Jones' injury, the Warriors had just one true center on the roster, and found themselves in the market for a center in the buyout market.
But when no options came to fruition, Bogut, seemed like a solid fit because of his defensive prowess and size.
"We have to look ahead for the playoffs for different matchups and we feel vulnerable," Kerr said. "Particularly in the case of injury against certain matchups."
"We all know what [Bogut] brings to the table," Warriors forward Draymond Green said. "So I think it will overall help us, especially going down this stretch where it's going to be a tough run to try to three-peat, so it will be important for us to have him back and I know he's going to contribute a lot in winning this championship."
As for playing time, Kerr said he doesn't know how many minutes Bogut will receive upon returning.
"I have no idea how it's going to play out, that's the expectation," Kerr said. "The whole idea is he's coming in with no expectations for minutes. He's going to be a part of our team and whatever the situation calls for then we'll use him."
Bogut's presence could be a boost for a defensive unit that ranks 16th in defensive rating (109.5) and 18th in points allowed (112.4). During the 2015-16 season, his last with the Warriors, the team had the sixth-best defense in the league on their way to an NBA-record 73 wins.
Remnants of Bogut's defensive influence are still seen on the Warriors today. During Green's first practice with the Warriors in 2012, Bogut gave Green, now one of the best defenders in the league, a few defensive lessons.
"I learned I had no clue," Green said. "You know, leaving college you had to guard the post with your chest, which is ridiculous. In the NBA you get torched guarding the post with your chest."
Now, almost three years since he left the Warriors, the team hopes he can use that defensive influence to help guide the Warriors to their third straight title.
"I didn't foresee this happening but I'm excited as hell about it," Green added. "It's good."