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Lakers release Andrew Bogut before his contract becomes guaranteed

Lakers center Andrew Bogut, right, sits on the bench with teammates Lonzo Ball, center, and Brook Lopez during a loss to the Charlotte Hornets at Staples Center on Friday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers waived Andrew Bogut on Saturday, four days before his contract would have been guaranteed. Bogut was originally signed to a partially guaranteed deal on Sept. 19.

Bogut played in 24 games for the Lakers, with five starts, averaging 1.5 points (.680 FG%), 3.3 rebounds and nine minutes.

“He uses his voice a lot more than any other guy on the basketball floor,” Lakers forward Brandon Ingram said. “Whether it was different positions to put us in, whether it was away from the court telling the young guys that we need to talk on and off the basketball court, he was always a good asset to help us play basketball the right way.”

Although Bogut’s playing time was scarce, the Lakers liked his veteran knowledge and the experience he had playing for a championship team in Golden State. Coach Luke Walton said Bogut was the team’s best communicator on defense.

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“We’re gonna miss him, obviously,” Walton said. “He was an ultimate professional all season, up to date, great with the young guys. Never complained. Came in, worked every single day. We’ll definitely miss him around here in the facility. Talking and just kind of leading in the way he leads. Hopefully I’m sure other teams out there that know what he’s capable of, he’ll end up in a good situation for himself.”

Bogut wanted the release so he could pursue an opportunity with a playoff team. That was part of his goal during free agency, but he signed with the Lakers as openings dried up.

The Lakers have been using Julius Randle as their backup center to starter Brook Lopez. Waiving Bogut also could open opportunities for Ivica Zubac, who has been mostly out of the rotation.

The Lakers will look to sign a player to a 10-day contract to fill the opening left by Bogut’s departure.

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Losing doesn’t get easier for players who have never experienced much of it before coming to the NBA. The sheer number of losses he experienced with the Lakers last season (56) took a toll on Ingram, then a rookie who had just come out of Duke. This season, they’re taking a toll in a different way.

“I think it’s kind of depressing because we think we’re a better team than last year and we know we can be better every single night, but we also know this is a process and everything is not going to be good all the time,” Ingram said. “We’re a very young team and it’s important for us to stick to what we’re doing and try to grind it out and just continue to stay strong.”

In a mostly dismal loss to the Charlotte Hornets, one positive for the Lakers was Ingram’s play.

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Ingram had 22 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.

Walton said Ingram was playing more naturally Friday night, rather than thinking too much about what he was trying to do.

“Part of it was having Zo back,” Walton said, referring to Lonzo Ball, who missed six games with an injury. “When they play together, Brandon gets out and runs; that ball’s on his hands every time. In the semi-transition, he’s tough to keep in front of, and he builds a rhythm. He starts kind of feeling the game out a little better.”

Not long after Larry Nance Jr. arrived at the Lakers’ facility for practice Saturday, he was sent home so as not to infect anyone.

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Nance is suffering from flu symptoms. He attended the Lakers’ film session before leaving. The Lakers are listing Nance as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.

UP NEXT

VS. ATLANTA

When: 6:30

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On the air: TV—Spectrum SportsNet, Spectrum Deportes; Radio—710, 1330

Update: This game features the two teams with the worst records in the NBA. At 10-28, the Hawks have had more recent success than the Lakers. While the Lakers are on a nine-game losing streak, the Hawks have won four of their last 10 games.

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli

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UPDATES:

1:45 p.m.: This article was updated with details of Bogut’s release as well as more notes about the Lakers.

This articles was originally published at 11:45 a.m.


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