The Los Angeles Lakers made a bit of a surprising signing a week before the start of training camp, as they inked veteran center Andrew Bogut to a one-year, partially guaranteed contract.
The signing made sense as the Lakers struggled greatly to protect the paint last season, and Bogut has a history with Lakers head coach Luke Walton dating back to their days together with the Golden State Warriors.
But the surprise was Bogut choosing the Lakers, as he reportedly had interest from both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, among others, which would have given him an opportunity to compete for a championship.
Although he is coming into camp completely healthy, recovered from the broken tibia he suffered last season, Bogut has not yet been able to practice or play as the Australia native has been working on getting his work visa figured out.
According to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, Bogut’s visa officially cleared on Saturday so he is able to begin working out with the team:
By the way, Andrew Bogut's visa has cleared. He is legally able to join the Lakers for all team activities now.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) October 1, 2017
The team missed Bogut in Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves as they gave up 50 points in the paint in a 108-99 loss. That also had to do with the absence of starting center Brook Lopez as well though.
Bogut’s contract being partially-guaranteed means that he is not guaranteed that 15th roster spot, although if he proves he is healthy then it will surely go to him. He along with Ivica Zubac will be competing for the backup center minutes behind Lopez.
In addition to his play on the court, Bogut provides veteran leadership for the young Lakers team and could serve as a mentor to Zubac, so the Lakers will be happy to get him back on the court in the coming days.