It's still pretty quiet on the Brandon Rush front.
Some Warriors fans seem aggravated by the lack of news on that end, but lack of action doesn't mean the Warriors will lose Rush. It probably means they are more likely to keep him.
Fair to say the Warriors would love for Rush to sign an offer sheet with the Lakers. The Lakers can only offer the mini-midlevel exception starting at $3 million. If Rush came to the Warriors right now looking for a deal starting at $3 million, Warriors GM Bob Myers would jump at it.
But Golden State isn't in a rush to sign Rush. It's not that the Warriors don't want him, it's just Myers playing ball. The risk is very low, and if everything works out, the Warriors could end up getting a discount.
The Warriors are willing to match Rush to a mid-level offer sheet, which is all any team over the cap can offer. But it seems Rush still has some other players ahead of him. Shannon Brown and Courtney Lee, both unrestricted free agents, are easier to sign because teams won't have to worry about their contracts being matched. And don't forget about Delonte West, a proven veteran who figures to come at a good price.
Only four teams remain that have the cap space to offer Rush anything more than the midlevel:
Cleveland: The Cavaliers, according to NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement expert Larry Coon, have more than $17 million in cap space and are reportedly trying to maintain their cap flexibility.
Phoenix: After their deal with Eric Gordon was matched by New Orleans, the Suns went after O.J. Mayo and now reportedly have interest in Brown and Lee. Phoenix has more than $16 million according to Coon, but Rush seems to be pretty far down on the Suns' list.
Houston: The Rockets will have quite a bit of space left (more than $15 million) even after adding Jeremy Lin and if the Bulls don't match for Omer Asik. But that space, for all intents and purposes, is already reserved. Any chance the Rockets have of getting Dwight Howard is in their ability to absorb Hedo Turkoglu's $11 million salary (and maybe Jason Richardon's $5.8 million). It's probably a safe bet Houston won't use that space until Howard is dealt elsewhere.
Minnesota/Portland: Depending on what happens with Nicolas Batum, one of these teams will have some space. The Timberwolves signed Batum to a four-year, $46 million offer sheet. If Portland matches, Minnesota will have cap space. If Portland doesn't match, the Blazers will have cap space.
The biggest risk for the Warriors is one of these teams missing out on the other options and overpaying. It is possible for one of these teams to do with Rush what the Warriors did with Kwame Brown: offer a one-year deal for a bloated price to discourage the Warriors from matching (one year, $7 million). Other than that, it just doesn't seem likely Rush will get an offer higher than what the Warriors are willing to pay. Which means, no matter how long it takes, Rush will be a Warrior.
If Rush comes back to the Warriors with no offer, Golden State is in the driver's seat for negotiations. At that point, Rush's only leverage is to accept the qualifying offer (one year, $4.4 million) and become an unrestricted free agent next season.
Rush said he wants to stay with the Warriors, so unless they really low-ball him on the offer, it's doubtful he opts for the one year, especially with the 2013 free agency class featuring multiple shooting guards and small forwards: James Harden, Monta Ellis, Manu Ginobili, Kevin Martin, Shawn Marion and Trevor Ariza.