It’s been as long and drawn out as it was inevitable. The Warriors finally reached a deal with swingman Brandon Rush on Monday night, who general manager Bob Myers identified as the top priority.
The delay paid off as the Warriors get to retain their free agent at a discount price. Rush’s deal is for two years, $8 million. He has a player option for the second year. So next season, Rush will make less than the $4.4 million qualifying offer he signed, and less than the $5 mid-level exception he was hoping to land.
With the signing of Carl Landry and the expected re-signing of Brandon Rush, the Warriors have 15 guys under contract. Perhaps more important, they;ll have little-to-no money left under the $70.3M luxury tax threshold.
Does that spell the end of Dominic McGuire’s tenure with the Warriors?
If so, many Golden State fans who came to love his defensive intensity and versatility will not be happy. McGuire rose from last-ditch free agent signing a year ago to beloved glue guy who many feel is a must-keep. Golden State has been on a kick to add size, defense and rebounding. Well, they’ve added some size. They drafted a big perimeter guy in Harrison Barnes and legit big man in Festus Ezeli. Rookie forward Draymond Green figures to help out on the boards since he was a noted rebounder in college. The Warriors also signed rookie guard Kent Bazemore, who has the tools to be a great perimeter defender.
Still, McGuire would probably be the best defender on the Warriors’ current roster. His ability to play both forward positions and defend even guards won over head coach Mark Jackson last season. But the Warriors’ moves this offseason indicates they aren’t as high on McGuire as many of their fans. They’ve taken a wait-and-see approach with McGuire, chasing other priorities first. Well, now that the Warriors have checked off their wishlist items (presuming they sign Rush), they can re-visit McGuire.
So, what would it take to keep him?
Warriors and free agent power forward Carl Landry have agreed to a two-year deal worth $8 million, according to Landry’s agent, Mark Bartelstein. Landry will get a player option in the second year. Golden State gets the big man it has coveted to play behind starter David Lee.
Next up is restricted free agent swingman Brandon Rush. Bartelstein, who also represents Rush, said the two sides will go to work finalizing Rush’s re-signing. Oddly enough, Bartelstein, who also represents Dominic McGuire, said the two sides are still talking about re-signing the valuable back-up forward.
The Warriors are close to signing free agent power forward Carl Landry and re-signing swingman Brandon Rush. The agent for both players, Mark Bartelstein, said the deal could go be done by the end of the day.
A source confirmed Yahoo! Sports report that Warriors and rookie forward Draymond Green agreed to a three-year, $2.6 million deal. The Warriors were waiting to lock up Green, the No. 35 overall pick, after they signed a power forward in free agency. So the agreement with Green suggests the Landry signing is indeed imminent.
Landry would fill the Warriors’ hole behind David Lee. However, he is known more for his offense than his defense. The Warriors were looking for a defensive-minded rebounder to support Lee and center Andrew Bogut. But the Warriors have also been focused on adding talent, and Landry is arguably the best player available in free agency.
The question is how much will Landry get? Anything over $4 million in the first year would probably put the Warriors into luxury tax territory.
According to league sources, the Warriors’ reported interest in free agent SF Josh Howard is, at the very least, minimal.
Golden State’s focus is still on landing a back-up power forward, with Carl Landry atop the wishlist. The Warriors are still waiting for Landry to decide. Golden State has a limit on a price it can offer (because the Warriors don’t want to go into luxury tax territory). So the question is whether Landry takes more money elsewhere or accepts what the Warriors have. Warriors management is basically in wait-and-see mode.
But don’t expect them to make any moves until Landry decides, certainly not for a small forward. After drafting Harrison Barnes, and with the expected re-signing of Brandon Rush, the Warriors aren’t in the market for a small forward unless he can play power forward (someone like Andrei Kirilenko or Dominic McGuire). At 6-foot-7, 210 pounds, Howard is too small for such a role with the Warriors.
To be sure, some in the front office do like Josh Howard’s game. But something would have to go wrong in the Brandon Rush saga for the Warriors to have serious interest in a small forward.
There is something to be said for familiarity. That’s why Kent Bazemore, this year’s unknown to emerge from Summer League, chose to sign with the Warriors. He made it official on Thursday.
“Being undrafted,” Bazemore said, “you have to prove yourself anyway. I learned a lot here. I didn’t want to go into training camp having to learn a whole new system.”
Bazemore didn’t pursue an opportunity with the Oklahoma City Thunder, whose Orlando Summer League squad he was on. He also passed up a one-year, non-guaranteed deal from Atlanta, which is much closer to his hometown and family. He’d already grown a level comfort with the Warriors. Joining Golden State was a no-brainer.
The Warriors will open the 2012-13 season at Phoenix on Halloween night, the team announced Tuesday. Then, on November 2, Golden State will take on visiting Memphis at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors will make eight national television appearances: three on TNT and five on ESPN. Golden State is also scheduled to play seven games on NBA TV.
LeBron James and the defending champion Miami Heat come to town on Jan. 16, an ESPN televised game. Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City visits the Warriors on Jan. 23 and April 11 (TNT).
The rival Los Angeles Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, come to Oakland on Dec. 22 and March 25. Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers visit the Warriors on Jan. 2 and Jan. 21.
Jeremy Lin returns the Bay Area, this time as a Houston Rocket, on Feb. 12 and March 8.