Wolves try to improve 3-point shooting by signing Rush
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves sought to improve their three-point shooting in this summer's free-agency bonanza, and Wednesday, they agreed to a modest one-year, $3.5 million contract with guard Brandon Rush, according to a source.The...
MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Timberwolves sought to improve their three-point shooting in this summer’s free-agency bonanza, and Wednesday, they agreed to a modest one-year, $3.5 million contract with guard Brandon Rush, according to a source.
The Wolves shot 33.8 percent on three-point attempts last season, which ranked 25th in the NBA, and Rush is a career 40.3 percent three-point shooter, among the better marks of any active player.
Rush, who turns 31 on Thursday, averaged 4.4 points and 41.4 percent three-point shooting in 14.7 minutes with the Golden State Warriors last season. With usual starter Harrison Barnes injured during the record-breaking 73-9 season, Rush was inserted into the starting five and averaged 49.2 percent on three-point attempts and 6.9 points across a stretch of 22 starts.
“He’s a good team player, a good locker room guy, and that is why he’s been in the league so long,” said Antwan Harris, who coached Rush, of Kansas City, Mo., with the Howard Pulley Panthers in AAU in 2002-2003. “That’s what I saw then.”
Entering his ninth NBA season, Rush likely was a casualty of Golden State’s salary cap purge to open up money for marquee addition Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City on Monday. Rush, who is 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, made $1.2 million last season, the final of a two-year deal, and his salary with Minnesota next season will nearly triple his earnings.
With the NBA salary cap shooting up from $70 million to $94 million, the Wolves have spent about $77 million,
including the rookie contract slot for fifth overall pick Kris Dunn of Providence. The minimum team salary is $84 million. But if a team spends below the salary floor, that amount will be distributed among players on that team.
Rush rebuilt a career that was sidetracked in 2012 when he tore his second anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. He tore his first right ACL while at Kansas in 2007. In the three seasons from 2012-2015, Rush played in 73 of a possible 246 games for the Warriors, Utah Jazz and Warriors again.
“Now, the athleticism (coach Tom) Thibodeau has and Flip (Saunders) drafted, they will get up and down and create shots,” Harris said.
Harris anticipates Rush modeling his career after retired San Antonio Spurs shooter Bruce Bowen, a player who can make clutch shots in limited playing time. “That’s where his career is going,” Harris said.
Rush joined center Cole Aldrich, a Bloomington Jefferson grad, who agreed to a three-year $22 million contract Monday. The former Kansas players cannot sign contracts until Thursday at the earliest.
Brandon Rush’s eldest brother, JaRon, played at UCLA but didn’t make it to the NBA. Fellow older brother Kareem played at Missouri and had a seven-year NBA career end in 2010.
Since the AAU days, Harris and Rush have fallen out of contact, but Harris said that will soon change now that he’s coming back to Minnesota.