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.
However, Rush immediately becomes the top candidate to be the Warriors’ sixth man and may have a shot at earning the starting small forward job. If he has another big year, he stands to get a nice payday next season in free agency.
Rush, who spent his first three seasons with Indiana before being traded to the Warriors, had a breakout season under coach Mark Jackson. In his 26.4 minutes, he averaged 9.8 points on 50.1 percent shooting (both career-highs). He shot 45.2 percent from 3-point range (sixth in the NBA) while proving to be a reliable defender, leading the Warriors with 58 blocks last season.
Rush’s signing likely concludes the Warriors’ offseason movement. The Warriors have reshaped their roster by added six players this offseason: veteran guard Jarrett Jack, veteran power forward Carl Landry (who also agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal on Monday), rookie forwards Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green, rookie big man Festus Ezeli, and rookie guard Kent Bazemore. The additions make Golden State bigger, stronger and more defensive.
On the flip side, the Warriors are likely going to let Dominic McGuire walk. McGuire, who Myers said he would like to keep, became a favorite of coach Mark Jackson and many Warriors fans with his defense and versatility. But after the signings of Brandon Rush, Carl Landry and Green (who signed a three-year, $2.6 million contract) the Warriors have a maximum 15 players under contract and no room under the luxury tax threshold. Keeping McGuire would require dumping salary (Myers said the Warriors would not go over the $70.3 million luxury tax threshold) and opening up a roster spot.
Golden State does have two non-guaranteed contracts, Bazemore and second-year guard Charles Jenkins. Plus, second-year forward Jeremy Tyler seems expendable with the addition of Ezeli and Landry.
The Warriors are definitely parting ways with guard Nate Robinson, who became a fan favorite with his electric style of play off the bench. According to Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick, Robinson is expected to sign with Chicago on Tuesday.