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Berger: Brandon Rush A Back-Up Option For Blazers, Timberwolves?

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Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter that Golden State Warriors unrestricted free agent forward Brandon Rush could be a possible back-up plan for either the Portland Trail Blazers or the Minnesota Timberwolves, depending on how the restricted free agency of Blazers forward Nicolas Batum plays out. ------------------------------- Brandon Rush could be an option for Portland or Minnesota, whichever team loses out on Nicolas Batum, source said. ------------------------------- The Blazers selected Rush in the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery but traded him to the Indiana Pacers for the rights to Jerryd Bayless. Rush, 27, averaged 9.8 points and 3.9 rebounds off of Golden State's bench last season. Batum's agent, Bouna Ndiaye said repeatedly this week that Batum prefers to play for the Timberwolves. On Thursday, a report indicated that the Blazers told Batum and Ndiaye that they would match any offer sheet extended to him and that they would not participate in any sign-and-trades. Batum denied a report earlier this week that he was unhappy with the Blazers and preferred to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves. On Tuesday, I reported the 4-year deal being discussed between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Batum sat in the $45-50 million range, including bonuses that are said to be both achievable and potentially extremely difficult to achieve. Suitors can offer Batum a 4-year contract while Portland can add a fifth year. Offer sheets cannot be signed until July 11, after the NBA's free agency moratorium is completed. At that point, the Blazers would have three days to match. Batum said back in April that he was "99 percent" sure that the Blazers would match any offer made to him and the team's ownership and management has consistently referred to him as one of the roster's core pieces. The Blazers extended a qualifying offer to Batum last week. Batum, 23, averaged 13.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals in 30.4 minutes for the Blazers last season. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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