Earlier today, we learned that the Kings and Rudy Gay agreed to a three-year, $40MM extension that includes a player option after year two. On the surface, it’s significant money to be spent on a player whose game has endured sharp criticism from the analytics community over the last few years. However, when considering Gay’s age, the short length of the pact, and Sacramento’s position as a free agent destination, one could argue that the deal is something of a good value for the Kings.
As Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated writes, the deal actually appears to be something of a head-scratcher from Gay’s perspective. The forward was set to hit the open market this upcoming summer and would have had a good amount of leverage behind him. No, Gay isn’t regarded as the type of guy that can be a No. 1 player for a contending team, but he’s still on the right side of 30 and the incumbent Kings likely would have been just as hungry to retain him then, if not more so. Meanwhile, the $13.3MM average annual value won’t leave Gay starving, but it’s a step back from the $16.4MM AAV on his previous deal.
On the flipside, the Kings have signed on for at least two additional seasons for a player who has been widely panned for his offensive inefficiency in recent seasons. In 75 games for the Grizzlies and Raptors in 2012-13, Gay recorded a combined PER of 15.6, putting him in the same range as guys like Ivan Johnson, DeMarre Carroll, and Matt Barnes. Since then, Gay has set new career highs in PER in each of the last two seasons (18.3 and 22.0, respectively), but the forward is not far removed from his pattern of dreadful offensive decisions and ill-advised long-range shots. The Grizzlies didn’t fade after trading Gay to Toronto and the Raptors actually improved after dealing Gay to the Kings, so it’s certainly fair for one to wonder exactly how valuable the 28-year-old really is.
Gay traded in the chance to earn a bit more this summer for the security of a new deal with the Kings, albeit with an escape hatch that can allow him to collect some of that sweet, sweet TV money in the summer of 2017. Putting aside the wisdom (or lack thereof) of the deal from Gay’s perspective, what do you think of the extension from the Kings’ side of things?