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Sources: Andrew Bogut negotiating 76ers release, wants to join Cavs

The Cleveland Cavaliers have emerged as the favorite to sign veteran center Andrew Bogut provided he can negotiate his release from the Philadelphia 76ers by Wednesday, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN on Sunday that Bogut's agent, David Bauman, and the Sixers remain in active buyout negotiations. The Australian big man is hoping to be waived by Wednesday, which is the last day this season players can be released and remain playoff-eligible with their next team.

Two Dallas Mavericks sources told ESPN on Sunday that they expect Bogut to choose Cleveland if he indeed finds himself on the open market later this week, while another source close to the talks expressed optimism Sunday that a buyout is forthcoming.

Dallas traded Bogut to Philadelphia on Thursday as part of the Nerlens Noel deal. ESPN reported later Thursday that the Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs were planning to make a run at Bogut as long as he could convince the Sixers to set him free.

Although he has a strong relationship with Sixers coach Brett Brown -- formerly Bogut's national team coach with Australia -- Bogut has expressed to Philadelphia officials that he is eager to make his way to a playoff team if possible to make up for all the time he has lost to injury this season with Dallas in what also stands as a contract year for him.

Various ailments limited Bogut to 26 games with the Mavs. A bone bruise in his knee and a hamstring strain, in particular, caused Bogut to miss extended stretches.

Bogut, 32, was the starting center on Golden State's championship team in 2015 but was dealt by the Warriors after last season's seven-game loss to Cleveland in a Finals rematch as part of a payroll purge to create the needed salary-cap space to sign Kevin Durant. That same purge enabled Dallas to acquire Harrison Barnes, who has since become the Mavericks' leading scorer.

Dallas had high hopes for Bogut as well, but he proved to be an ill-fitting frontcourt partner for face of the franchise Dirk Nowitzki, which eventually landed Bogut on the bench. He was an effective defender and rebounder (8.3 boards per game) in Dallas, but Bogut is averaging a career-low 3.0 points per game this season.

If Bogut chooses the Cavaliers as expected, he would be spurning a more lucrative offer from the Rockets, who created an extra $3.5 million in spending money through two deadline-day trades Thursday to aid their search for additional depth via the buyout market.

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