Andrew Bogut will take time to assess his basketball options after he decided against signing a new NBL contract with the Sydney Kings.
The 35-year-old Australian basketball superstar announced the move via social media on Monday, citing uncertainty in global sport amid the coronavirus pandemic as the major reason for his decision.
However, Bogut insisted the announcement was not a retirement call.
“I have decided not to sign with the Sydney Kings, or any professional sporting team for that matter for the time being,” Bogut said in a statement.
“With everything going on in the world the future does not look too clear, most notably in regards to sporting leagues worldwide.
“This by no means is a retirement note, but simply saying any concrete decisions are too hard to be made at this point in time.
“The reason I have decided to do this now is to give the Sydney Kings enough notice to act accordingly with Free Agency being around the corner.”
Melbourne-born Bogut was the NBA’s No.1 draft pick in 2005 and spent more than a decade in the league, winning a championship with Golden State in 2015.
He returned to Australia in 2018 and spent the past two NBL seasons with Sydney, named the league’s MVP last year.
Bogut led the Kings to a minor premiership this year before the team pulled out due to coronavirus fears midway through the grand final series, which was awarded to Perth in March.
Bogut has relished his time off since the end of the NBL season and will not be rushed into a decision on his playing future.
“I have enjoyed being at home with the family and learning more about my kids than I ever could have previously,” Bogut said.
“My body is enjoying the break after playing basketball for 19 straight months and I hope to be back on the basketball court in the near future!
“The plan moving forward? Spending time with my wife and kids, slowly getting back into physical shape, and finally making the most of the time we don’t traditionally get at home.”
Uncertainty over Bogut’s future comes at a tough time for the NBL, which has made drastic cuts to player salaries amid a financial crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the league’s biggest names have since left, with Bryce Cotton and Nick Kay (both Perth) plus Sydney pair Casper Ware and Xavier Cooks all opting out of their contracts to pursue other opportunities.
The NBL remains hopeful of starting the 2020-21 season in October.