NBA legend ‘lied’ to scorned Bogut
AUSSIE star Andrew Bogut says NBA legend Magic Johnson doublecrossed him over a handshake agreement he claims existed in his high-profile move to the Lakers.
In September 2017, Bogut became the first Australian to sign with the iconic Los Angeles franchise, but the experiment was killed off within a few months.
In January last year, Bogut was waived by the Lakers ahead of the trade deadline - a bloody axing that left the Sydney Kings centre "blindsided".
Bogut opened up on the full extent of the betrayal ahead of the Warriors' away game to the Lakers on Friday afternoon (AEDT). He has been rested for the clash.
The NBL Most Valuable Player told The Mercury News he was "lied to", after claiming he had a handshake agreement with the team to remain contracted for the entire 2018-19 NBA season.
Fifteen months later, he is still unhappy about the way he was treated by Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson.
"The Lakers told me I'd be there the whole year," Bogut told the San Francisco newspaper.
"They went against their word and waived me at the deadline. Whatever. That was their decision.
"I was basically lied to."
He said his understanding with the Lakers was that he would see out his one-season deal as long as he was healthy and playing basketball after his long run of recent injuries.
The report claims Bogut was just four days away from having his Lakers deal reach the contract clause that would have guaranteed his spot on the team's roster for the rest of the season.
With four days to go, the Lakers tore up the non-guaranteed contract.
"I took their word for that, stupidly," Bogut said.
"It's part of the business. But it's disappointing because I have two young kids and all that. I was stupid enough to take their word on something I shouldn't have."
The Lakers have since responded to Bogut's accusations by telling The Mercury News the club would never have been in a position to guarantee Bogut's non-guaranteed contract because it violates NBA rules.
Following his exit from the Lakers, Bogut revealed last year after returning to Australia that the Lakers' decision to cut him was particularly tough for his family because his wife was in the middle of a high-risk pregnancy, according to ESPN.
Despite reportedly having informal offers from four NBA teams, Bogut decided to return to play with the Sydney Kings in the NBL last year, and went on to win the league's top individual honour.
After the Kings were knocked out of the playoffs, Bogut was sensationally scouted by a number of NBA teams before he eventually signed a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors, the team he won an NBA championship with in 2015.
With the Warriors light on for monsters to guard the paint, Bogut could still play a key role in the team's championship charge.
The Lakers, meanwhile, have already fallen out of playoffs contention and decided to rest superstar LeBron James for the rest of the season.