Australian center Andrew Bogut signed a free agent contract Thursday with the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, who he opposed in the past two NBA Finals while playing for Golden State.
The 32-year-old 7-footer (2.13m) is in his 12th NBA campaign after being the top overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft and his arrival gives the Cavaliers' lineup another key inside player with championship experience.
Bogut was traded from Golden State to Dallas after last season to make salary cap room on the Warriors for the signing of star forward Kevin Durant, now sidelined with a left knee injury.
The Mavericks traded Bogut to Philadelphia last Thursday and the 76ers waived him on Monday, making him available for the Cavaliers to add to their roster just three days after adding guard Deron Williams.
The moves provide key support for superstar playmaker LeBron James as the Cavaliers try to defend their crown and will play a key role quickly with All-Star frontliner Kevin Love expected to be sidelined after knee surgery for at least another four weeks.
Bogut will make about $385,000, a pro-rated slice of the $1.55 million player's minimum salary, according to Cleveland.com, which said Bogut will not suit up for the Cavaliers until next Monday's home game against Miami, missing games Thursday in Atlanta and Friday at Miami.
Bogut, a three-time Olympian for Australia, helped the Warriors defeat the Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals and contributed to Golden State's NBA-record 73-9 campaign in 2015-16.
But with the Warriors leading last year's NBA Finals 3-1, Bogut suffered a left knee injury in game five of the best-of-seven series. With the Aussie big man sidelined, the Cavaliers made the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history and took the title in seven games.
Now Bogut could have the opportunity to beat his former club if the Cavs and Warriors can return to the finals for a third consecutive year -- something that has never been done in NBA history.
Bogut, who will wear jersey number 6 for the Cavaliers, averages 10.0 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 blocked shots over 670 career NBA games for the Warriors, Dallas and Milwaukee.
In 26 games with Dallas this season, Bogut averaged 3.0 points and 8.3 rebounds.