Bogut moves a step closer to accepting the Kings' ransom
The Sydney Kings may learn as early as this morning if NBA star Andrew Bogut will suit up in their purple and gold singlet in the NBL season opener in Melbourne on Friday night.
Bogut's agent Bruce Kaider was spending the early hours of this morning in contact with the Milwaukee centre's American lawyers, FIBA, the sport's governing body, and overseas' insurance agents, but was hopeful to be able to finally clear the way for the 2005 No1 draft pick to play in the NBL.
While Kaider refused to speculate on which of the three clubs pursuing Bogut would get his signature should the insurance be sorted out, he did confirm the 26-year-old had made up his mind where he would go.
The sticking point has been the insurance, worth around $500,000 to protect Bogut's multi-million dollar contract with Milwaukee.
''We had a policy and we have had our legal guys look at it, and we've had to go back with some feedback and just say there are a couple of clauses in here we are not happy with,'' Kaider said yesterday.
''We want them redrafted, but obviously with timezones and weekends in Europe and America, we'll have to work through the night tonight to try and get this policy resolved if we can.
''There's lots of people working on it trying to make it happen. We now need to wait for a second draft of the policy to come back to us to ensure we are satisfied Andrew is protected to the level he needs to be and then once we get that resolved then we can talk about specifics of where he's going.''
Asked if he hoped to have it done overnight, Kaider said: ''I hope so. I don't know if I can stay up every night of the week until 4am.''
''If we get it resolved tonight, Andrew would absolutely make an announcement on where he will play tomorrow,'' he said.
''He's made up his mind. He knows were he is going, but we're not going to talk about it publicly until all this gets resolved.
''We can start this media circus of telling everyone what team it is, and then this insurance falls over tonight ... what's the point.''
Bogut is in this position due to the NBA lockout, where players and clubs are fighting over the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with the team owners wanting to reduce salaries to help a league which lost $300million last year.
Three NBL teams are chasing Bogut - the Kings, Gold Coast and Adelaide - and each remains hopeful he will chose them. However, most of the speculation centres around the Kings, with several sources claiming Bogut has chosen the Sydney franchise. Fueling the speculation was reports the Kings had tentatively booked a venue for a press conference today and tomorrow, should the announcement go their way.
''He hasn't signed anything,'' Kings general manager David Wolf said yesterday, a fact confirmed by the NBL. ''It's not at all a done deal, I can absolutely assure you. We're in ongoing discussions with Andrew and his management, and we remain hopeful. We have a game on Friday to focus on and we are preparing for every eventuality and that includes him not joining the Kings.''
To sign Bogut, the Kings would have to take a couple of players off their roster. His payment is not an issue, but under the NBL's points' system, where all players are assessed with a point value, Bogut is the maximum 10-pointer, and Sydney would need to lose some player points to squeeze him in.
''We are confident that if Andrew decides he wants to be in Sydney, we can fulfil the NBL's requirements,'' Wolf said.