Warriors finally get big man in Bogut

The Golden State Warriors long search for a legitimate big man

has finally ended. Now they just need to wait for newly acquired

Andrew Bogut to get healthy in order to see the benefits.

General manager Larry Riley called Tuesday’s trade that sent

Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown to Milwaukee for Bogut and

Stephen Jackson a bold move that should help the Warriors get out

of a rut of one playoff appearance since 1994.

”We were stuck,” Riley said Wednesday before the Warriors

(18-21) hosted the Boston Celtics. ”Do you want to be stuck three

games below .500 at this time of the year every year? Do you want

to be stuck five games below or something like that? That’s where

we were and that’s where we were going next year if we couldn’t do


Golden State missed out on opportunities to acquire Tyson

Chandler and DeAndre Jordan in the offseason but managed to pull

off the deal for Bogut by giving up perhaps its most marketable

commodities in the high-scoring Ellis, an emerging power forward in

Udoh and Brown’s expiring $7 million contract.

The 27-year-old Australian was available in part because he

broke his left ankle on Jan. 25 against Houston when he landed

awkwardly and might not be able to play this season. It’s one of

several significant injuries that have plagued Bogut throughout his


Bogut missed the end of the 2009-10 season when he dislocated

his right elbow, sprained his right wrist and broke his right hand

in a hard fall to the floor. The injury bothered him for much of

last season. Bogut also missed significant time with an injured

lower back in the 2008-09 season.

Riley said team doctors reviewed Bogut’s medical records and

signed off on the deal and two other specialists were called in to

review Bogut’s health.

”Everything is moving in the right direction,” Riley said.

”The progress is as it should be. There should be no reason why

the healing should not continue in the proper fashion. That’s the

medical advice we’re operating under.”

When Bogut has played, he has played well. In 408 career games,

he is averaging 12.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots. He

averaged a double-double for three straight seasons and is a strong

interior defender.

The Warriors have spent most of the past three decades without a

true, topflight center – perhaps since trading Robert Parrish to

Boston in 1980. Udoh and David Lee got much of the time in the

middle this season, but that will change next season when Bogut is


”The bottom line is we were absolutely ecstatic that we were

able to make a trade and finally able to bring a big man into this

organization, and a big man of quality,” Riley said. ”Our mandate

has been to be aggressive. Let’s get something done here. We took a

bold step. We know it’s a bold step. We’re happy about it. We think

there are some tremendously good things that will come from this


The trade is the biggest move made since new owner Joe Lacob

took over the team early last season and was an admission that the

popular, but undersized, backcourt of Ellis and Stephen Curry did

not work.

Riley said he would have liked to see Curry and Ellis play with

a true center, but when that couldn’t happen the Warriors broke up

the tandem instead, clearing the way for 6-foot-7 rookie Klay

Thompson to take over at shooting guard.

”Now that it’s over, the doggone thing didn’t work,” Riley

said. ”’We didn’t get a 5 and it didn’t work. We’ve heard for a

long time that you can’t play with two small guards. Well, we’ve

now opened up some playing time for somebody at the 2 that’s not a

small guard. We’re going to be a more traditional looking


It will just take some time to see that team with Bogut likely

out for the rest of the season and Curry sidelined by a nagging

sprained right ankle. Riley said Curry will not return until he is

100 percent and that he will be checked out again by doctors


Despite being short-handed, coach Mark Jackson is not lowering

his goal of getting his team to the playoffs in his first season.

Golden State began the day three games out of eighth place in the

Western Conference

”For us, the mission is the same,” Jackson said. ”We’ll work

our tails off and we’ll find a way to get it done. The objective is

for folks on the outside to say, `How is this bunch of guys doing

it. We’re a no excuse team. Tailor-made excuses continue to pile up

but we’re not going to embrace them.”