- Tony Dejak/AP
The Cleveland Cavaliers spent the waning days before the trade deadline bringing in veteran pieces from around the NBA to help bolster its bench for the playoffs.
After LeBron James publicly called out Cleveland’s front office for the lack of roster depth, the team promptly signed Deron Williams (a better backup point-guard than Matthew Dellavedova, who left over the summer), Derrick Williams (a high-energy scorer), and 7-foot enforcer Andrew Bogut.
Bogut, in particular, would be an important addition – a former no. 1 pick with loads of playoff (and Finals) experience who would slot in nicely behind Tristan Thompson.
On Monday night, though, Bogut checked into the game for his new team and exactly one minute later fractured his tibia.
Andrew Bogut carried off floor 2 minutes into Cavaliers career with leg injury pic.twitter.com/p3Hkx9iJyE
— Adam Silverous (@World_Wide_Wob) March 7, 2017
Bogut, of course, scrapped with the Cavs during the past two NBA Finals as a member of the Golden State Warriors. He was traded over the summer to the Mavericks to help the team clear cap space to sign Kevin Durant, and then in late February was shipped to Philadelphia as part of the package that gave the Mavericks Nerlens Noel.
Bogut, who is 32, was never going to waste his time toiling away on a team as bad as the Sixers, so they bought him out. When he became a free agent, several playoff contenders reportedly expressed immediate interest – including the Spurs, Rockets, and Celtics.
Bogut instead chose Cleveland, and now is out indefinitely.
“It’s very deflating,” James said of the Bogut injury. “It’s a tough moment. We all were excited about the acquisition, you know, bring him in here. Him getting some games under his belt before the playoffs, so hopefully we can hope for the best with the MRI or whatever the case may be, but uh, it’s a tough one. Not only obviously for him, first of all, but then for our ballclub.”
Bogut’s value to the Cavs would have come almost entirely on the defensive end. And while the team is still heavy favorites to advance out of the Eastern Conference, losing Bogut hurts.
“He didn’t even get a minute,” James said. “He didn’t even get a minute.”