JULY 20: The Thunder have officially released Gay, per a press statement.
As Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman tweets, releasing Gay will open up a roster spot, which the Thunder will use to officially sign Jack White. The two sides agreed to the terms of a contract on July 1, but OKC made some trades to add draft assets, temporarily putting the deal on hold.
Gay has had a long and highly productive NBA career, often popping up on lists of the best players to have never been an All-Star. He averaged at least 17 points and five rebounds per game in 10 consecutive seasons from 2007-2017 with the Grizzlies, Raptors and Kings.
While the 17-year veteran was still a solid performer as recently as 2020/21 with the Spurs, he battled injuries over his two seasons with the Jazz, appearing in just 111 of a possible 164 regular season games. His production slipped as well, with Gay posting career lows in virtually every major statistic over the past two campaigns.
Overall, Gay has appeared in 1120 regular season contests, including 779 starts, with career averages of 15.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.1 SPG and 0.7 BPG on .452/.346/.799 shooting in 30.9 MPG. In ’22/23, he averaged just 5.2 PPG and 2.9 RPG on .380/.254/.857 shooting in 56 games (14.6 MPG).
Gay is virtually certain to go unclaimed on the waiver wire, as he’ll earn a guaranteed $6,479,000 in ’23/24, which is the final year of his contract. The Thunder will be on the hook for that full amount in a couple days if he isn’t claimed, while the former UConn star will become an unrestricted free agent.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic previously identified the Warriors as a team that might be interested in Gay if he were to hit the open market.