Aaron Gray is retiring because of the heart ailment that knocked him out of action this past season, the 30-year-old center tells Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). He’ll join coach/executive Stan Van Gundy‘s staff, Ellis adds, and while it’s unclear whether that means he’ll be an assistant coach, that’s the role in which he served in an unofficial capacity this year. The Pistons released his playing rights in October soon after signing him to a two-year deal for the minimum last summer, using the stretch provision to spread the salary for the second year of that contract over the next three seasons.
This past season was the first in which the 49th overall pick from the 2007 draft didn’t play in the NBA since his days at the University of Pittsburgh. Gray spent time with the Bulls, Pelicans, Raptors and Kings before signing with the Pistons last summer, peaking with 40 starts for Toronto during the 66-game lockout-shortened 2011/12 season. He nonetheless averaged only 3.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per game that year. The 7-footer put up 3.4 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 12.1 MPG across 318 games in his seven-year NBA career.
The Andy Miller client was a more noteworthy contributor on defense, compiling a positive number in Basketball-Reference’s Defensive Box Plus/Minus metric for each season of his NBA career. Gray earned more than $13.518MM in his NBA career, according to Basketball-Reference and Basketball Insiders data.