Basketball-NBA veteran Bogut to return home to play in Sydney

Reuters

MELBOURNE, April 23 (Reuters) - Andrew Bogut, the first Australian to go as the top pick in the NBA draft in 2005, is heading home to play with the Sydney Kings in a huge coup for the local National Basketball League.

Bogut, who won an NBA championship in 2015 with the Golden State Warriors, was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers in January.

The 33-year-old and the Sydney Kings, who finished seventh in the eight-team NBL in the recently finished 2017/18 season, announced the deal on social media.

"In line with player contracting procedures, the Sydney Kings have submitted to NBL head office appropriate paperwork for @andrewbogut for review and processing," the Kings tweeted.

"The Kings will make no further comment but will provide an update in due course."

The NBL has a low profile in Australia, where the indigenous football code Australian Rules and rugby league dominate a sports market also crowded with professional soccer and rugby union competitions.

But Melbourne-born Bogut's recruitment adds genuine star power and could be transformative for the league, according to pundits.

"Bogut will be the glue, he'll dominate this league not just statistically but in a way where he'll make his team better," Shane Heal, a four-times Olympian with the national Boomers team, told local broadcaster Fox Sports.

"This is an endorsement for where NBL's at, at the moment."

The seven-foot (2.13m) Bogut was taken with the first overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks and stayed with the Midwestern side until joining Golden State in 2012, where he picked up a championship ring three years later.

His career has been blighted by serious leg injuries and he broke his left leg less than a minute into his debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers in March 2017.

Bogut played in his third Olympics at the 2016 Rio Games, helping Australia equal their best result of fourth in the tournament. (Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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