Looks like Brandon Rush and Cole Aldrich will have a bit of a reunion this fall.
Wednesday the Timberwolves and Rush — a three-point specialist who spent four of the past five seasons with Golden State — agreed on a one-year, $3.5 million contract. In the process the Wolves nabbed their second free agent of the NBA’s bargaining period. Both Rush and Aldrich were on Kansas’ 2008 NCAA championship team.
Contracts cannot be signed or announced until Thursday.
In Rush, who will turn 31 Thursday, the Wolves got a 6-6, 220-pound wing who should be able to solidify the team’s bench depth and spread the court with his outside shooting ability.
“We’re really excited, it’s a great fit for Brandon,” said Mark Bartelstein, Rush’s agent at Priority Sports & Entertainment. “It’s a good situation, with a new program in town and an up-and-coming young team.”
Bartelstein said Wolves president of basketball operations/head coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden did a good job recruiting Rush.
“They did a terrific job of selling the vision of where they’re taking the Timberwolves,” he said.
The Wolves entered free agency with a number of needs. In Aldrich — who agreed to terms on a three-year, $22-million deal over the weekend — the Wolves got a big man off the bench who can defend the basket and play with either Karl-Anthony Towns or Gorgui Dieng as the team’s third post.
In Rush they got a player with an accurate outside shot and the ability to use that shot to create spacing on the floor for the Wolves’ offense.
Rush was a part of Warriors teams that made it to the past two NBA Finals, winning in 2015. He has career averages of 7.0 points, 43.0 percent shooting and 40.3 percent shooting on three-pointers.
He is something of a three-point specialist; 60.4 percent of his shots with Golden State last season were from three-point range, and he made 41.4 percent of those shots.
For his career, Rush is one of only 11 active players to shoot 40 percent on three-pointers with at least 1,000 attempts.
Rush should add both experience and grit to the team; he has come back from torn ACLs in both knees.
He tore his right ACL while in college at Kansas in 2007. But he returned the next season and led the Jayhawks, along with Aldrich, to the 2008 NCAA championship. While with Golden State, Rush tore his left ACL on Nov. 2, 2012 — the Warriors’ second game of that season — and was lost for the rest of that season.
The Wolves remain about $6.5 million away from reaching the NBA’s salary floor. The team might still look for a way to address a need for a “stretch” power forward. But the remaining free-agency pool is relatively slim at that position.
Meanwhile, Thibodeau and Layden, along with the rest of the Wolves’ Summer League team, are scheduled to go to Las Vegas sometime Thursday. The team, coached by assistant Ryan Saunders, begins play Friday on the campus of UNLV.