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Andrew Bogut: Exceptional Kings coach Chase Buford not going anywhere

With the Sydney Kings just three wins away from the NBL championship, Andrew Bogut has praised head coach Chase Buford, with the 33-year-old guiding the franchise to the Grand Final series in his first year in the league.

Now part of the ownership group with the Kings, Bogut admits there has been some learning experiences along the way for Buford, including a AU$10,000 fine for breaching the league's code of conduct. Buford referenced his displeasure for NBL official Chris Reid during a late regular season meeting with the Illawarra Hawks, while star forward, Xavier Cooks was also fined AU$2,000 for his own breach in the same game.

Reid has since been announced as one of three officials for the Grand Final series against the Tasmania JackJumpers, although Bogut doesn't believe the appointment will cause any type of distraction for the team, or Buford.

"I'm fine with it. Chase made a huge mistake in that last game of the season. Xavier as well to an extent but what Chase did was unacceptable," Bogut told ESPN's The Jump.

"I've told him that, we've told him that. He knows that and he took his medicine. As an owner and ally of Chase Buford, I say he deserved that fine, it's as simple as that. I think that might be one of the largest fines in NBL history, I haven't seen that before but look, he deserves it. He's accepted it and is moving on."

After a shaky start to the NBL22 season, the Kings have lost just two of their last 18 games, with Bogut watering down suggestions Buford might not be long in the league, such is the success he has had on the sidelines.

"The good news is that we learned our lesson with (former head coach) Will Weaver. He has a minimum of two years and an option on the third. He'll be around for next season.

"It's tough, when you're successful you lose (personnel). Jae'Sean Tate is a perfect example, Didi Louzada, Will Weaver. We don't discourage it, but we understand we're trying to build something here long term and we also can't afford to have a new coach every year. But it is a tough task, we support being a transitionary club that says, 'if you have an NBA dream, we don't want to hinder that'.

"We just have to find that balance of not leaving our club out to dry and having to constantly make changes. Chase has been phenomenal for our group; the guys love him. He's made mistakes along the way and admits them, but he's done a lot of positives that people don't talk about as well."

Along with Buford, the NBA and clubs across Europe are expected to show significant interest is the star loaded squad, with Jaylen Adams, Xavier Cooks, Ian Clark and Jarell Martin headlining the big-name roster.

"That's the challenge we have. We obviously want to keep this team together as long as we can. When you're successful, other teams will try to poach your players and know that you're strung out with your salary cap. You're also competing with the NBA and Euro League. If they're available to stay in the NBL we'd think that we'd open the check book up."

Bogut is enjoying his time working the front office alongside majority owner Paul Smith and the rest of the front office, believing the club has benefitted from Smith's enthusiastic approach to supporting the club on and off the court.

"He's not everyone's cup of tea but we need more owners and personalities in our league. I'm all for an owner who's all in," Bogut said.

"You want a passionate owner that cares. You don't want owners in this league who buy teams as a passive investment and aren't around. He's around win or loss and after games he gets the cooler out, that's his drum, and he leads the guys through a song. The guys really appreciate it, he wears his heart on his sleeve. Most of the players realise he's in this with them as much as they are."

Acknowledging the success of the Kings to this point, Bogut is refusing to look too far ahead despite the team entering the series as overwhelming favourites.

"They've had a fantastic season; they deserve to be there," he said of Tasmania.

"They beat a very tough Melbourne United team. This is a very tough team, this JackJumpers team is not going to beat themselves, we need to beat them."

Watch The Jump on ESPN with Nat Edwards, Andrew Gaze, Lanard Copeland and Kane Pitman, 6:30pm on Friday night.