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Report: Andrew Bogut to sign with Cleveland Cavaliers, Pass on Celtics

Shams Charania of The Vertical & Marc Stein of ESPN reports that highly coveted free agent center Andrew Bogut will sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, snubbing the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets.

NBA: Finals-Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Bogut will join LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the rest of the season, as The Vertical’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Bogut will sign with the Cavs by this weekend.

Bogut met with the Celtics and Houston Rockets over the past 24 hours in an effort to determine where he would be the best fit, but chose the defending champions in the end.

Although Bogut has missed more than half of the Mavericks’ games this year, while current starting big Amir Johnson has missed just one game this year.

Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reported Monday that the Celtics were unsure of Bogut’s fit within their rotation.

“At the deadline (the Celtics) had mixed reviews on whether he’d be a help or not,” a source told Murphy.

It is not a surprise considering Amir Johnson has not only remained healthy throughout the season, but has been a more effective player overall. Bogut was a complete non-entity scoring in Dallas, although his interior defense continues to be borderline elite. While Johnson has had stretches of significant lapses manning the pivot, he is 17th among bigs in the NBA in defensive real plus-minus at 2.49 and is a neutral 0.13 in offensive plus-minus according to ESPN.

Bogut would have excelled in serving the particular needs for consistent and physically imposing presence both on the interior on defense and as a rebounder. But the Celtics would have had to sacrifice either Jordan Mickey, Demetrius Jackson or James Young to do so. Considering how little Mickey has played behind Tyler Zeller, who alternates between usable deep bench center and confused yield street sign, he would have been the most likely waiver choice. James Young has finally established he is deserving of an NBA roster spot during Avery Bradley’s injury and Demetrius Jackson is a worthwhile bet on an impossibly team-friendly contract.

But the choice to join Cleveland was as close to a no brainer as you can get while still retaining some pink matter. Bogut is also the only viable center on the team, which is missing Kevin Love, and will have a clearly favorable path to the Finals. If his former team is waiting there, it will make for yet another fascinating story line in what will surely be an incredible Finals.

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