It stinks what happened to Brandon Rush. He tore the ACL inhis left knee in Fridays game against the Memphis Grizzlies and will miss theremainder of the season.Rush, who averaged 9.8 points per game and shot 45 percentfrom 3-point range last year, was the teams best wing defender and an integralpart of the improved Warriors bench.Hes tough to replace. But the question is this: Can theWarriors try to replace him?The answer is yes, but there are challenges the Warriorswould face in terms of replacing Rush on the roster with another player. Itsdoable, but is it worth it?The first thing the Warriors would have to do is apply tothe league for a disabled player exception. That exception would likely begranted, which would mean the Warriors could use 50 percent of Rushs salary toacquire a player either by way of a free agent signing or a trade.Rush is earning 4 million in 2012-13, so the Warriors wouldhave 2 million to use.Warriors general manager Bob Myers said on Sunday the teamis looking at its options.But heres where it gets a little tricky. The money you useto sign a player or trade for a player counts toward your payroll. In theWarriors case, their payroll is slightly more than 70.3 million, which is theluxury tax threshold.At this point, the Warriors are considered a tax-payingteam, but they have several ways to get back under the tax by the end of theseason when the tax is actually computed.If you are a tax-paying team, you must pay one dollar forevery dollar over. In addition, the Warriors would be ineligible to receive anymoney generated from the penalty money that is redistributed to non-tax-paying teamsby the leagueIf the Warriors were to use 2 million to sign or trade fora player or a portion of that it would make it that much more difficult toget back under the luxury tax by the end of the season.Also important is that if the Warriors were to acquire aplayer with the exception, they would have to waive a player. Right now theWarriors roster is at the league-maximum 15 players.They have 14 guaranteed contracts. Kent Bazemore is on apartial guarantee.Going out and getting someone to replace Rush let alonesomeone you want to contribute comes at a price. The free agent names arisingare Mickael Pietrus, Maurice Evans, Josh Howard and Kenyon Martin.Also to consider is the Warriors have Richard Jefferson, an11-year veteran who has more playoff experience than anyone on the roster. Hecould fill in. Or perhaps there might be times when you could squeeze DraymondGreen into the small forward spot for Rush.Heck, what's the problem with giving rookie starter Harrison Barnes a little more wiggle room?You can certainly expect coach Mark Jackson to use more of alineup that includes Jarrett Jack at point guard, Stephen Curry at shootingguard and Klay Thompson at small forward.The Warriors certainly have enough bodies to cover for theabsence of Rush. Could they try to acquire a player? Yes, they could. But atthis point, theyre doesnt seem to be a great need to.
OAKLAND -- Though much has been said about the agonies and challenges facing Steve Kerr, including speculation about when, or if, he’ll return as head coach of the Warriors, little has been put into words that capture the significance of his absence.
This is perhaps because it can be difficult to explain how one man is able to influence a roster of supremely talented athletes, at the wealthiest point of life, with wildly divergent personalities, at different career stages.
Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, a man who knows perspective as well as anyone in the NBA, took a moment Saturday to cut through the palaver and pity to offer a clear and vivid illustration of Kerr’s value as a man and as a coach.
“It’s just his presence, his personality,” Livingston began. “His character, the way he fits in with us. He’s kind of the battery pack, in the sense that he makes everybody go. He keeps us all (in harmony), everybody from staff, training staff, coaching staff to the players.
“He bridges the gaps, in the sense of communication, and he makes it light.”
In short, Kerr’s value to the franchise is far greater than his duties as a coach. He has an easy, breezy charisma insofar as he’s so comfortable submerging his own ego while being remarkably good at making everyone matter.
Moreover, Kerr is decidedly inclusive, explicitly emphatically open to ideas. He’s an outreach specialist whose sensibilities are contagious.
All of which helps create a sprightly and genial workplace, something the Warriors sought when they hired Kerr to replace the swaggering and dogmatic Mark Jackson in May 2014.
“Every day it’s something new, in a sense, and that’s hard to do,” Livingston said. “We’re here for six to nine months for the past couple years, seeing the same faces. So it is kind of like a job. But (Kerr) makes it more like a game and tries to make sure we’re enjoying ourselves out there.”
Kerr wants to live his life and coach basketball around four basic tenets: joy, mindfulness, compassion and competition. Maintaining a balance of the four can be difficult, especially when Kerr is dealing with the searing pain that has him on the sideline for an indefinite period.
But Kerr never strays far. His players seem to see and, more important, feel that.
Draymond Green and Kerr, each volatile in his own way, don’t always see eye-to-eye. Yet Green on several occasions has noted that Kerr “always seems to find the right thing to say, at the right time.”
Veteran David West points out that anyone who spends any time around Kerr can sense his basic humanity. Veteran Andre Iguodala, one of the team’s co-captains, speaks of Kerr’s curiosity and desire to broaden his horizons.
Stephen Curry, the other co-captain, kept the ball from the Warriors’ Game 4 win over Portland last Monday night, punctuating a series sweep, and gave it to Kerr, who missed Games 3 and 4 while coping with this prolonged post-surgery pain.
Lead assistant Mike Brown, the acting head coach in Kerr’s absence, concedes he has benefited from being around Kerr and this team.
“The tone he sets is the best I’ve been around,” said Brown, who has been involved in the NBA since 1992. “This is a special, special situation, and he’s big reason why.”
So it’s not just Livingston who throwing rose petals at the boss. He just happened to convey in a few words the effect Kerr has on the team and within the building.
“He’s our leader,” Livingston said. “He’s somebody that we count on.”
OAKLAND -- One day after every member of the Warriors participated in a full scrimmage, the official health updates were released.
Veteran forward Matt Barnes, out since April 8, is listed as probable for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals that begin Tuesday at Oracle Arena.
Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, out since sustaining a finger/hand injury in Game 1 of the first-round series against Portland on April 16, is listed as questionable -- but with an asterisk.
“Hopefully, we’ll be ready for Tuesday,” Livingston said after a light workout Saturday.
Livingston informed NBCSportsBayArea.com earlier this week that he would have been available, hypothetically, if the Warriors were facing a Game 7.
As for Kevin Durant, who missed five weeks with a knee injury before returning April 8, only to sustain a calf strain in Game 1 against the Trail Blazers, he’s fully available.