Programming note: Are you an early-riser? Catch the Warriors-Lakers game on Friday LIVE from Shanghai, China at 4:30 a.m. PT on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
Warriors center Andrew Bogut has spent recent weeks telling anyone willing to listen that he is fully healthy and ready for a full NBA season. He has expressed this loudly, emphatically and repeatedly.
The Warriors are listening – and evidently like what they see and hear.
The team last week opened negotiations with Bogut’s agent regarding a three-year contract extension that would keep him with the Warriors through the 2016-17 season, according to a report by Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, who is accompanying the team on its current trip to China.
Bogut, who could become a free agent next summer, said he would prefer to stay with the team that acquired him from Milwaukee 20 months ago in a deal that sent popular guard Monta Ellis to the Bucks. And, no, Bogut did not forget the flirtation a few months back between the Warriors and then-free agent center Dwight Howard.
But the center last week expressed to me a fondness for the Warriors operation, from co-owner Joe Lacob to general manager Bob Myers to the coaching staff led by Mark Jackson, saying he was part of a "first-class’’ franchise.
That, along with full awareness of his injury history, might explain why Bogut made the honorable gesture of saying he would be willing to accept a deal laced with incentives based on the number of games he might play per season.
"I think that’s only fair,’’ Bogut told NBA.com.
Furthermore, the 7-foot Australian implied that the team and his agent, David Bauman, are not so far apart that negotiations shouldn’t continue over the next couple weeks.
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"Nothing concrete has been actually formally written up,’’ he said. "We’ve just been going back and forth, but nothing too crazy.’’
Bogut will make about $14.2 million in the final season of a five-year, $60 million deal he signed with Milwaukee in July 2008. It’s safe to assume he is seeking a contract that would pay at least $10 million per season, with the potential to go several million higher.
For comparison’s sake, power forward David Lee was signed in 2010 to a six-year deal worth about $80 million. Three years remain at a cost of about $44 million. Point guard Stephen Curry last October signed a four-year extension worth $44 million.
Bogut, who turns 29 next month, implied other teams would be interested should he become a free agent, but emphasized he is willing to sign the right deal with the Warriors at the cost of giving up the four-year deal that likely would be available on the free agent market.
On the topic of his health, nothing so far indicates he is not fully recovered from the fractured ankle sustained nearly two years ago. He played 32 minutes in a 100-95 win over the Lakers on Tuesday in Beijing, grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds.
In line image of Andrew Bogut and Pau Gasol provided by the Associated Press