Rudy Gay has signed a three-year, $40MM contract extension with the Kings, the team announced. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported the deal on Sunday. The extension begins with the 2015/16 campaign and includes a player option on the third year (2017/18).
“I am very excited to announce that Rudy Gay will be a part of the Kings for the long term,” owner Vivek Ranadivé said. “He is an immensely talented player who is critical to our team on and off the court, and he is a significant reason why things are changing in Sacramento. Players as talented as Rudy have their choice on where to play. He is committed to making the Kings great again and we are committed to his success. I am looking forward to seeing a sea of No. 8 jerseys filling the seats of the new arena.”
As Wojnarowski rightly notes, the ability to get out of the deal after 2016/17 gives Gay a chance to hit the open market in the summer of 2017, when there should be an opportunity to cash in thanks to the league’s new $24 billion television deal. The forward will only be 31 years old at that point, so he should be able to secure another multiyear deal if he continues to play at his current level.
It was only in recent days that Gay decided to really work toward an agreement with Sacramento rather than letting the open market dictate his value next summer, and re-energized talks led to the two sides shaking hands on a deal Saturday night, Wojnarowski writes. In late September, Gay said that he briefly began extension talks with the Kings over the summer but put them on hold when he joined Team USA. Since then, we hadn’t heard a ton of buzz regarding an extension prior to Wojnarowski’s report.
Gay is just the sixth player to sign a veteran extension since the current collective bargaining agreement took hold for the 2011/12 season, joining Andrew Bogut, Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker, Zach Randolph and Anderson Varejao. Randolph, Parker and Varejao all signed their extensions within the past five months.
“I feel blessed to be in this situation,” Gay said in the team’s statement. I’m grateful for the confidence the Kings have shown in my abilities and appreciate the way Sacramento and its passionate fans have embraced me and my family from day one. The future is bright for this franchise, and I’m thrilled to play a role in helping the organization succeed on the court and in the community.”
The client of Octagon Sports agents Alex Saratsis and Jeff Austin will make more than $19.3MM this season in what was to have been the final year of his contract. The Kings are barred from trading Gay for the next six months because he signed an extension that tacks three additional seasons onto his deal.
For his career, Gay has averaged 18.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game across eight NBA seasons with the Grizzlies, Raptors, and Kings. So far in 2014/15, the 28-year-old is averaging 21.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 3.6 APG for Sacramento. Prior to the start of the season, our own Chuck Myron looked at Gay as an extension candidate.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.