Rudy Gay

Northwest Notes: DSJ, Gay, Jazz, Thunder

Former lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr. appears to have the 14th spot on the Trail Blazers‘ regular season roster all but locked up, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic.

The Trail Blazers entered training camp with 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, and they’re unlikely to carry a 15th man on a permanent basis for luxury-tax reasons. That left Smith competing with Marquese Chriss, Quinn Cook, and Patrick Patterson for what may just be one available roster spot, and he has impressed the team so far this fall.

“There have been some behind-closed-doors practices and games where some of the other guys have stood out or played well, too,” Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said on Monday after Smith put up 18 points and seven assists against Sacramento. “But, you know, you can’t hide what you saw today. I mean, (Smith) was really good.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Tony Jones of The Athletic takes a look at the impact that veteran forward Rudy Gay could have with the Jazz this season, both on and off the court. “He’s been a real leader for us so far,” Hassan Whiteside said of Gay. “He’s someone who is making a difference.”
  • Trading Derrick Favors and signing Gay will give the Jazz more flexibility to play against smaller lineups, John Hollinger of The Athletic notes in his season preview for the team, adding that he wouldn’t be surprised if Gay is Utah’s de facto backup center in the playoffs. Hollinger adds that the Jazz could reduce their luxury tax bill by unloading a couple smaller contracts in deadline trades and replacing them with prorated minimum signings.
  • Hollinger also previewed the Thunder‘s season, pointing out that the team remains $22MM below the salary floor for 2021/22, putting OKC in great position to accommodate a salary dump at the deadline.

Northwest Notes: Billups, Lillard, Thunder, Jazz

Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups recently sat down for an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link), and he says he’s not going to be preaching “stay here” to star point guard Damian Lillard.

Billups adds that he won’t be constantly discussing whether or not Lillard wants to stay with the team with his star player, saying he has a responsibility to coach the rest of the players. However, he definitely wants him to stay, and believes Lillard when he says he’s “all in” for the upcoming season with the Trail Blazers.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • Former first-round pick D.J. Wilson knows he might be a long-shot to make the Thunder‘s 15-man regular season roster, but that’s not going to stop him from trying, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Mussatto notes that the Thunder had their eyes on Wilson in the 2017 draft, but the Bucks selected him (17th) before Oklahoma City was able to (21st). Wilson is on a non-guaranteed training camp contract.
  • In a tweet, Mussatto says the Thunder are being cautious with Vit Krejci, who’s a year removed from an ACL tear. Coach Mark Daigneault said Krejci has been cleared to play, but he’s still not a full participant in practices. This could be a result of the “slight setback” Krejci had last week. Mussatto adds that the bigger issue for Krejci is his visa status, which has no timeline for a resolution.
  • One reason the Jazz appealed to Rudy Gay in free agency is they had the best regular season record in the NBA last season, so he doesn’t feel any pressure to rush his recovery process following heel surgery, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Northwest Notes: Butler, Gay, Zeller, Palacio

Jared Butler has been the talk of the Jazz‘s training camp but he’ll have to exercise patience when it comes to playing time, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune writes. The 40th pick of the draft won’t immediately take backcourt minutes away from Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson or Joe Ingles.

“For Jared, part of it is patience. You can be really competitive and hungry, and still be patient,” coach Quin Snyder said. “When I say ‘patience,’ it’s a little bit like preparing for when an opportunity presents itself for you to have an impact. … Invariably there’s injuries, there’s foul trouble. Continuing to work and be hungry and not be frustrated if it doesn’t come right away [is important].”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Jazz forward Rudy Gay underwent offseason surgery on his right heel, Walden tweets. It was previously reported that the surgery was done on his left heel. Gay is still working his way back from the surgery and isn’t expected to be ready for opening night.
  • Trail Blazers center Cody Zeller will undergo nasal surgery on Friday, Jason Quick of The Athletic tweets. Zeller was inadvertently hit in the face by the Warriors’ Andre Iguodala in Monday’s preseason opener. Doctors tried to reset it, but his nose was “crushed,” according to coach Chauncey Billups. It’s uncertain whether the injury will affect Zeller’s status for the regular season.
  • Trail Blazers assistant coach Milt Palacio has been placed under administrative leave by the team pending further notice, according to a team statement relayed by Quick (Twitter link). He is one of 18 former players facing charges in New York federal court over allegations that they defrauded the NBA’s health and welfare benefit plan.

Injury Notes: Gay, Bogdanovic, Giannis, Robinson, Bryant

Jazz forward Rudy Gay won’t be ready to make his debut for his new team during the preseason or even by the start of the regular season, head coach Quin Snyder told reporters on Friday.

As Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune details, Gay underwent surgery on his left heel shortly after the 2020/21 season ended and is still recovering. He has been going through portions of practice with the Jazz, but hasn’t yet been cleared for contact, Walden writes. Gay is expected to remain sidelined through at least opening night.

Meanwhile, another Jazz forward – Bojan Bogdanovic – has also been held out of the full-contact portions of the team’s practices, according to Walden. However, it sounds like Bogdanovic is closer to returning to action than Gay. A team spokesperson said that Bogdanovic is experiencing some shoulder soreness and is being rested out of caution. If the regular season had begun, he’d likely be able to play, says Walden.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo acknowledged on Media Day that the knee he injured during last season’s playoffs still isn’t 100%, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic, and he hasn’t been a full participant in the team’s practices so far this week. Asked if there’s a chance Antetokounmpo won’t be ready to play by opening night, head coach Mike Budenholzer replied, “No, I wouldn’t go there. … I would say he’s in a good place and there’s a lot of confidence he’ll be good — and when exactly that is, we hope it’s sooner rather than later” (Twitter links via Nehm)
  • Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, who is coming back from a fractured foot, said on Thursday that he’s running but isn’t yet sprinting, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters that Robinson – who hasn’t been cleared to practice – still has a few checkpoints to hit, including some related to conditioning, before he’ll be ready to return to action. There’s currently no timetable for his return. Begley adds that the Knicks are unlikely to seriously consider negotiating a new contract for Robinson, who is extension-eligible, until they see him back on the court.
  • Wizards center Thomas Bryant admitted this week that the long recovery from an ACL tear has been a life-changing process for him, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays. It’s very hard because that’s like the one love that you have in your life right there. It’s the one thing that’s always been there, always intact that you know that you can always go to. When that’s taken away from you, it’s very hard,” Bryant said. “It’s almost depressing in a sort of way. But when you’re mentally strong and you keep talking to yourself and working with yourself mentally, the days don’t get so much harder, they get a little bit easier.” Bryant is expected to return sometime in December.

Jazz Notes: Gay, Front Office Changes, Vaccination Rate, Training Camp

Speaking to reporters at the team’s Media Day this week, forward Rudy Gay explained his interest in joining the Jazz this summer after spending four seasons as an effective tweener forward with the Spurs.

“I’ve played with [All-Star point guard Mike Conley] before, and it’s always good to know a guy on the team,” the 6’8″ Gay said of the decision, according to Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune (via Twitter).

Gay also mentioned that Jazz head coach Quin Snyder delivered a heck of a pitch in an effective 45-to-60-minute recruitment discussion, per Walden. Utah inked the 35-year-old to a three-year, $18.6MM deal this summer, with a player option for the 2023/24 season. In his 15th NBA season, Gay averaged 11.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 1.4 APG. He also boasted solid shooting splits of .420/.381/.804 across 63 games.

There’s more out of Utah:

  • The Jazz have recently announced a series on front office changes, per Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). The most significant change among these transitions is assistant general manager David Morway‘s decision to become the club’s senior basketball advisor, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. Morway, who played a big role in recruiting the aforementioned Gay to Utah, reportedly opted to change his role in an effort to spend more time with his family, Jones adds (Twitter link).
  • In some exciting health news for the Jazz, general manager Justin Zanik stated that Utah’s entire organization is vaccinated during his Media Day presser, per Tony Jones of The Athletic (via Twitter).
  • The Jazz were off and running for their first day training camp for the 2021/22 season, according to Sarah Todd of The Deseret News“We didn’t spend too much time on teaching much stuff,” Conley reflected following the club’s first practice. “Normally in training camp you spend a good amount of time just walking around and going through detail after detail. With the vets we brought in … we’re allowed to just skip all that and just go straight to live action or working on different things that can expedite our situation as a team. So having that kind of group is huge.” The Jazz were the top seed in the West for the 2020/21 season, but were knocked out in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. This revamped club, boasting more frontcourt flexibility and hoping for better health from its All-Star backcourt of Conley and Donovan Mitchell in the playoffs, appears hopeful to prove itself all over again.

Western Notes: Ingles, Bogdanovic, O’Neale, Conley, Gay, Adelman, Doncic

The Jazz are well above the luxury tax line after re-signing Mike Conley and adding Rudy Gay in free agency but they don’t plan on dumping any of their mid-salaried players to ease the burden, Zach Lowe of ESPN reports. Lowe names Joe Ingles ($12.4MM), Bojan Bogdanovic ($18.7MM) and Royce O’Neale ($8.8MM) as the type of players that the Jazz could look to dump if they wanted to get below the tax line or reduce the bill. There’s no indication any of them are going anywhere anytime soon.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Conley played a role in convincing Gay to leave the Spurs for the Jazz in free agency, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News writes. Conley said the front office urged him to recruit his former Memphis teammate. “I’ve done it little bit (before) but not at this capacity,” Conley said. “I was like putting babies down for bed and having to drop them and go take a call because I’m trying to make sure we lock up a guy like Rudy. … I was really locked in on that and it was fun.”
  • David Adelman will be the lead assistant for the Nuggets, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets. Jordi Fernandez will be the second assistant under Michael Malone while Popeye Jones, whose addition to the staff was previously reported, will be the third assistant on Malone’s bench.
  • Luka Doncic‘s new contract extension includes a 15% trade kicker, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. However, the trade bonus would only kick in if the cap rose significantly in the future, since a trade bonus can’t increase a player’s salary beyond the maximum and the All-NBA guard has already qualified for a higher max salary than he’d typically be eligible for. Doncic’s five-year, $207MM extension with the Mavericks became official on Tuesday.

Western Contract Details: Gay, Conley, Graham, Nunn, SGA

Originally reported as a two-year deal with a second-year player option, Rudy Gay‘s new contract with the Jazz actually covers three years, with a third-year player option, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). The full three-year value of the contract, which was officially announced on Friday, comes in at about $18.55MM.

Smith has details on several other newly-signed contracts from around the Western Conference, so let’s dive in and round up some of the highlights (all links are courtesy of Smith)…

  • Mike Conley‘s three-year deal with the Jazz includes some unlikely bonuses and has a partial guarantee on year three (Twitter link). The 2023/24 salary of $24.36MM is only guaranteed for $14.32MM.
  • Devonte’ Graham‘s four-year contract with the Pelicans starts at $11MM and features 5% annual raises (Twitter link). The fourth year salary of $12.65MM is only partially guaranteed for $2.85MM.
  • The Lakers used most of their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Kendrick Nunn (Twitter link). His deal is worth $5MM in 2021/22, with a $5.25MM second-year player option.
  • The Mavericks used the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Reggie Bullock to a three-year deal worth slightly over $30MM (Twitter link). The contract, which includes a 5% trade bonus, is only guaranteed for $5.45MM (of $10.49MM) in the final year.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s five-year, maximum-salary extension with the Thunder includes a 15% trade kicker (Twitter link).

Free Agency Rumors: DeRozan, Bulls, Wizards, McLaughlin, Rose, Heat

A sign-and-trade deal that sends DeMar DeRozan to the Bulls remains a possibility for the veteran free agent wing, league sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link). Chicago has previously been mentioned as a possible suitor for DeRozan, and Stein’s report suggests the team remains interested even after reaching agreements with Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso.

A Monday report from Brian Windhorst of ESPN suggested that a double sign-and-trade sending DeRozan to the Bulls and Lauri Markkanen to the Spurs could be one possibility that the two sides would explore. Chicago also expiring contracts belonging to Thaddeus Young ($14.19MM) and Al-Farouq Aminu ($10.18MM), both of which would theoretically make for good salary-matching pieces.

Here are a few more rumors related to free agency:

  • As Spencer Dinwiddie and the Wizards continue to work toward a possible agreement that would land the point guard in D.C., Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report says (via Twitter) that Washington has begun exploring the possibility of trading Chandler Hutchison and a second-round pick as part of a potential sign-and-trade deal for Dinwiddie.
  • Jordan McLaughlin and his camp are optimistic about reaching a new multiyear contract agreement with the Timberwolves, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune (Twitter link). McLaughlin, a restricted free agent, met face-to-face with the Wolves when free agency opened on Monday, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.
  • The Knicks are expected to re-sign Derrick Rose using his Early Bird rights, which means they can keep his smaller cap hold on their books for now and then eventually go over the cap to complete his deal, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday. Popper estimates that New York could still have upwards of $9MM in cap room to work with, or even more if the team waives Luca Vildoza‘s non-guaranteed salary.
  • The Heat had interest in Rudy Gay, but weren’t going to match Utah’s two-year, $12MM offer, preferring to commit most of their mid-level to a strong defensive player in P.J. Tucker, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Rudy Gay Signs With Jazz

AUGUST 6: Gay has officially signed his contract with the Jazz, the team announced today in a press release.

“Rudy brings a valuable veteran presence to the Jazz which will only enhance our group as it continues to evolve,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said in a statement. “He’s proven to be one of the most consistent players in the NBA over his 15-year career and we’re thrilled for him to join our club.”


AUGUST 3: The Jazz have reached an agreement with veteran forward Rudy Gay, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

It will be a two-year deal worth $12.1MM with a player option for the second season, according to his agents, Raymond Brothers and Sam Permut (Twitter link). Utah will use its taxpayer mid-level exception, adds John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Gay, who will turn 35 this month, spent the last four seasons with the Spurs, where he was a reliable contributor off the bench for Gregg Popovich. He averaged 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 63 games last season, which was his 15th in the NBA.

Gay will join Utah’s big man rotation in place of Derrick Favors, who was traded to the Thunder last week. He also reunites with re-signed point guard Mike Conley, a former teammate with the Grizzlies.

The Jazz will be limited to minimum-salary contracts for any further free agent signings.

Jazz Rumors: Conley, Niang, MLE, Porter, Gay

The Jazz remain on track to finalize an agreement on a three-year contract with Mike Conley once free agency officially opens tonight, reports Tony Jones of The Athletic. Previous reports have indicated that Utah is the strong frontrunner to bring back Conley and that the team is preparing a three-year offer in the neighborhood of $75MM for the veteran point guard. Based on Jones’ report, it sounds like that hasn’t changed and a deal could be in place later today.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • League sources tell Jones that free agent forward Georges Niang is highly unlikely to return to the Jazz, since he’s unrestricted and is expected to draw significant interest from rival suitors.
  • Even though the Conley signing will take them well over the luxury tax line, the Jazz are willing to use the taxpayer’s mid-level exception (worth about $5.9MM) in free agency, writes Jones. However, the team won’t use it just for the sake of using it, and will want to land one of its primary targets.
  • Otto Porter and Rudy Gay are among the free agent forwards on Utah’s radar, according to Jones. However, Jones hears that Porter may be leaning toward the Nets, while Gay is believed to be eyeing the Lakers.
  • Following up on Utah’s trade that sent Derrick Favors to Oklahoma City, Jones reports that Favors will meet with the Thunder‘s front office on Tuesday. That meeting is expected to determine whether Favors sticks with OKC or whether another trade could be forthcoming. It’s worth noting that the Jazz wouldn’t be permitted to re-sign Favors if he were bought out by the Thunder, though a buyout is unlikely anyway since he has two years left on his contract.