Andrew Bogut asks to come off bench for Mavs, says he 'won't be offended'

DALLAS -- Center Andrew Bogut will be coming off the bench for the foreseeable future due to the problems the Dallas Mavericks have had playing him next to Dirk Nowitzki.

Bogut and Nowitzki have played only 53 minutes together, in part because of injuries forcing extended absences for both players. However, the Mavs have been miserable with them in the lineup, getting outscored by 62 points.

"There's no point of starting with Dirk and then getting pulled 30 seconds into a game," Bogut told ESPN after Tuesday's shootaround. "So I went to coach and said, 'If you're going to continue to do that, just bring me off the bench. I won't be offended. We'll get on with life.'"

Bogut and Nowitzki have played in only one game together since Nov. 25. They both started in the Dec. 27 loss to the Houston Rockets, but Bogut subbed out at the 10:02 mark of the first quarter and didn't play next to Nowitzki again the rest of the night.

Coach Rick Carlisle said Bogut went to him last week and volunteered to come off the bench. Bogut started in Thursday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers with Nowitzki out sick and sat out Friday night's loss to the Golden State Warriors due to planned rest.

Nowitzki, 38, has been limited to nine games this season as he has dealt with soreness in his right Achilles tendon. He readily acknowledges that his lack of quickness presents problems if he's playing next to Bogut, but Nowitzki believes the Mavs must figure out how to make the duo work for at least occasional stretches.

"I still think when I'm completely healthy on my normal minutes that somehow we've got to play together," said Nowitzki, who praised Bogut for his willingness to sacrifice for the good of the team. "We've just got to make it work some and find ways to get some good stops and offensively get some good possessions. I'm not ready to throw in the towel on our 4-5 combo there, but so far it hasn't looked great."

Bogut, 32, is skeptical that he can play with Nowitzki except for the rare occasions when the opponents uses two traditional big men.

"Look, maybe one or two games here and there, but it puts Dirty in a bind because he's got to be guarding a 3 or a 4 man," said Bogut, who recently missed 11 games due to a bone bruise in his knee. "You look at the Houston game and he's guarding Trevor Ariza or [Patrick] Beverley and I'm guarding a big. You do the math and that just won't work. In short bursts, every now and then, maybe [it will work] if we play a team that has two bigs in there. But for the most part, the way the league's going, you have the Ariza-type guys at the 4. I don't see it."

Bogut, a former No. 1 overall pick, has started 648 of 662 games in his career. He acknowledged that coming off the bench requires him to swallow his pride a bit.

"It can be a little disparaging, but we're 10-24," Bogut said. "We're trying to change things up. If that's the way things are going to go to try to get us wins, I'm all for it. If it doesn't get us wins, then we have a conversation in five or six games. But it's one of those things where we're trying to shake things up.

"It's no secret that that lineup just doesn't work. Harrison [Barnes] at the 4 with Dirk at the 5 or myself at the 5 is way more effective. You don't have to look at analytics to see that. You can see that with the way the floor spacing is and all of that. We'll give it a shot and see how it goes."