Bombshell: Bogut slams United claims
A HIGH-STAKES feud has erupted between two of the NBL's biggest clubs after Andrew Bogut cast doubt over the legitimacy of Melbourne United's offer to new Sydney Kings star Casper Ware.
Ware, who led United to its first NBL championship, rejected what Melbourne officials claimed to be the "biggest offer" in franchise history to sign a multi-year deal with the glamour Kings.
But outspoken Kings marquee Bogut, who Melbourne missed out on last year after their negotiations fell through with the NBA champion, questioned the validity of United chief Vince Crivelli's claim.
"They claim that they offered him (Ware) their biggest deal in the history of their club, which I wouldn't really believe, coming from their CEO, but we just felt that he was on the table," Bogut said from the US.
"We were shocked at it, to be honest, that he was still available, that he wasn't wrapped up immediately when free agency opened or even had conversations and, from what we heard, he hadn't."
Crivelli was contacted about Bogut's allegations but the blindsided United boss did not wish to comment publicly.
Crivelli is expected to take up the matter privately with Bogut and could explore legal options.
Less than a year ago, talks with Bogut to join the then-reigning champions Melbourne broke down after the club's terms included the prospect of controlling his intellectual property.
Melbourne-born Golden State Warrior Bogut went on to sign a two-year deal with the Kings, which included a lucrative stake in the franchise.
Bogut's Kings were beaten by United in the playoffs but, after swiping Ware and Craig Moller last week, the NBL's most valuable player has stoked the cross-border rivalry.
"Whether you're playing basketball or ping pong, Melbourne and Sydney hate each other, this (Ware's move) adds more fuel to the fire," Bogut said.
"We thought he'd laugh at getting a call from us, especially with the rivalry, but he was great to deal with, I had a chat with him personally when it all was about to get wrapped up.
"We didn't think we had a chance (to get Ware), we thought Melbourne would wrap that up straight away and now their loss is our gain."