Rudy Gay

Spurs Re-Sign Rudy Gay

JULY 11: The Spurs have officially re-signed Gay, the team announced today in a press release.

JUNE 30: Veteran forward Rudy Gay has committed to re-sign with the Spurs on a one-year, $10MM deal, league sources tell Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Gay winds up with a modest raise after opting out of a contract that would have paid him $8,826,300 next season. Factoring in a 20% raise from his $8,406,000 salary for 2017/18, the Spurs could go as high as $10,087,200 for Gay’s next deal using his Non-Bird rights.

The 31-year-old forward assumed a reduced role in his first year in San Antonio, but was able to bounce back from a torn left Achilles tendon he suffered in Sacramento. Gay managed 57 games for the Spurs, averaging 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per night.

Another year removed from that Achilles injury, Gay could be in for a larger role in San Antonio for the 2018/19 season, particularly if trade candidate Kawhi Leonard doesn’t return. The Spurs’ other key small forward, Kyle Anderson, is also no lock to return, though the team is expected to make an effort to re-sign the restricted free agent.

Having presumably used Gay’s Non-Bird rights to strike a deal with the veteran forward, the Spurs will still have their mid-level exception available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Spurs, Morey, Gasol

Despite perhaps winning the 2018 NBA Draft with the selection of some pundits’ top-ranked player, Luka Doncic, Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram doesn’t see the Mavericks making the playoffs next season, writing that Dallas will likely end up picking in the NBA Draft Lottery for a second straight summer in 2019.

The projected lineup of Dennis Smith Jr., the aforementioned rookie Doncic, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki and a center-to-be-named-later, while an improvement, is not enough to crack the top eight of Western Conference, in Engel’s opinion, even if that new center is potential free agent DeAndre Jordan or free-agent-to-be DeMarcus Cousins.

Despite the hype surrounding Doncic and his experience playing with professionals overseas, he will still be an NBA rookie next season, and as Mavericks’ president Donnie Nelson puts it, that means “he’s going to get his rear end handed to him.” Add in the fact that Smith Jr. is also still only 20 years old, and you’re left with one of the youngest – albeit most talented – backcourts in the NBA, which is probably not enough in the deep Western Conference.

There’s more from the Southwest Division.

  • With Danny Green choosing to opt in for the 2018/19 season, the Spurs are situated to be near the projected salary cap line of $101MM at the beginning of free agency, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Marks adds that in addition to renouncing free agents Tony Parker and Rudy Gay, the Spurs would also likely need to unload some heftier contracts like those belonging to Green and Pau Gasol in order to create cap room this summer.
  • Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey said the team wasn’t really close to making a deal to move up in last week’s NBA Draft, but that there was an opportunity to move into the No. 20 to No. 25 range.
  • Pau Gasol is doubtful that the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard can mend their relationship, telling EpDeportes, via Jeff Garcia of Spurs Zone, “I do not know if the situation can be rectified after Kawhi’s request to leave, I do not know if a multi-million dollar offer would fix it, he has not talked to him for a long time, he’s a very reserved player.”

Spurs’ Rudy Gay To Decline Player Option

Spurs forward Rudy Gay will turn down his 2018/19 player option, electing to become a free agent on July 1, reports ESPN’s Chris Haynes. The option would have paid Gay a salary of $8,826,300 for next season.

[RELATED: NBA Player Option Decisions For 2018/19]

Gay, whose 2016/17 campaign ended early due to an Achilles injury, made a speedy recovery and was ready to go for the Spurs in the fall after signing a two-year, $17.2MM deal with the club. However, he was nagged by Achilles and heel problems during the winter, limiting him to 57 regular season games — he never seemed fully like his old self.

“A lot of times, I will-powered through games, will-powered through practices,” Gay told Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News in April. “I didn’t feel like there was anything worse I can go through (than the Achilles tendon injury).”

In that conversation with McDonald earlier in the spring, the veteran reportedly sounded “genuinely torn” over whether or not to pick up his option, but it makes some sense that he’d seek a new deal on the open market. While Gay missed time with health problems and averaged a career-low 21.6 minutes per contest, his per-minute numbers were solid, as he posted 11.5 PPG and 5.1 RPG with a .471/.314/.772 shooting line for the season.

Additionally, Gay may not want to lock himself into another season with the Spurs as long as the team’s roster remains in flux. In addition to Kawhi Leonard‘s reported desire to leave San Antonio, Danny Green and Joffrey Lauvergne also have player-option decisions to make, Tony Parker and Kyle Anderson will be free agents, and Manu Ginobili is believed to be considering retirement.

Still, Gay is no lock to get a raise on his $8.8MM+ player-option salary. The mid-level exception for 2018/19 figures to be worth a little less than that, so in order to top that salary, Gay would probably have to either negotiate a new deal with San Antonio or find a team with cap room willing to make him a sizable offer.

If Gay ultimately settles for a lesser salary for next season, it would be the second consecutive summer that he has taken a pay cut. In 2017, he declined his $14MM+ option with the Kings before signing that new deal with the Spurs that paid him approximately $8.4MM in 2017/18.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: NBA Africa Game, Global Camp, Upshaw

Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and Sixers center Joel Embiid will headline the rosters in this summer’s NBA Africa Game, the league announced today. The event, which will take place on Saturday, August 4 in Pretoria, South Africa, will feature a Team Africa vs. Team World format, with Cameroon native Embiid heading Team Africa and DeRozan representing Team World.

Joining Embiid on Team Africa will be fellow NBAers Al-Farouq Aminu, Bismack Biyombo, Cheick Diallo, Evan Fournier, Serge Ibaka, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Pascal Siakam. DeRozan’s teamates on Team World will include Harrison Barnes, Danilo Gallinari, Rudy Gay, Khris Middleton, and Hassan Whiteside.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the basketball world:

  • A total of 40 draft-eligible prospects from outside the United States will take part in the NBA Global Camp 2018 in Treviso, Italy from June 2-5, the NBA announced on Wednesday. While Luka Doncic won’t attend the pre-draft showcase, there will be plenty of prospects worth watching, including Cedevita forward Dzanan Musa, who is the No. 19 prospect on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com.
  • The mother of Zeke Upshaw, the G League player who passed away earlier this year after collapsing during a Grand Rapids Drive game, has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the NBA and the Pistons of negligence. The suit alleges that the defendants failed to provide the Drive with the “the resources, policies, and procedures reasonably necessary” to prevent or handle Upshaw’s collapse. Noah Trister of The Associated Press has the full story and more details.
  • Now that two-way contracts have been in effect for nearly a full year, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days explores what sort of changes we may see to the rules surrounding those contracts in the future.

Southwest Notes: Gay, Powell, Mavs, Capela, Rondo

Spurs forward Rudy Gay has a player option decision to make this offseason, but he tells Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype that he’s not thinking about that decision yet, using this time instead to watch the NBA postseason and prepare for a vacation. Still, Gay doesn’t sound like a player eager to leave San Antonio after his first year with the Spurs.

“It’s like no other organization in the league,” Gay said of the Spurs. “They are definitely family-oriented – there’s a family atmosphere and family is everything. On the court, it’s very different. It’s the epitome of team basketball. Everyone is playing for each other, and it’s always been that way.”

Gay’s option salary ($8.8MM) is worth about the same amount as the mid-level exception will be worth in 2018/19. So, while he could probably increase his total guarantee by declining his Spurs option and signing a multiyear deal, it’s not clear if he’d be able to exceed that 2018/19 salary on a new contract.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Mavericks‘ decision to sign Dwight Powell to a four-year, $37MM+ contract in the summer of 2016 looked a year ago like a misstep, but Powell enjoyed a career year for the team in 2017/18, as Dwain Price of Mavs.com observes. “That contract has been more than fulfilled, and it’s not just the player that you see evolving before your very eyes,” Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “It’s the leadership in that locker room, and he is a very, very special young man that has taken the next step up.”
  • While the Mavericks know they can’t “skip steps” and rush their rebuilding process, they also hope that rebuild isn’t still in its “early stages,” says head coach Rick Carlisle (link via Price at Mavs.com). According to Carlisle, Dallas will be looking to integrate its 2018 lottery pick into the rotation during his rookie year, as the team did with Dennis Smith Jr. this past season.
  • In his latest mailbag for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton takes a closer look at Clint Capela‘s continued improvement, exploring whether the Rockets center has a chance to develop into an All-Star. Re-signing Capela as a restricted free agent will be a top priority for Houston this offseason.
  • Nick Friedell of ESPN.com explores the ways Rajon Rondo has showed veteran leadership for the Pelicans this season, not just on the court but off it as well. Rondo will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: San Antonio Spurs

The fate of the Spurs is in the hands of Kawhi Leonard and it’s hard to get a clear read on his current relationship with the franchise. With Leonard, a savvy veteran core, and a world-class coaching staff, the Spurs are capable of competing in the West. Without him, however, the forecast in San Antonio is considerably more bleak, and that impacts everything, including the club’s pending free agency decisions.

Given the franchise’s track record of stability, I’d posit that Leonard returns at full health next season and this entire debacle gets chalked up to a superstar-level player lacking faith in an organization’s medical staff mandated to prod him back into action as soon as reasonably possible.

While much of the disappointment around the team this year can be traced back to this one isolated case of melodrama, that shouldn’t veil the fact that the Spurs – who’ve been ancient for over a decade now – are looking older than ever. Is a major shakeup right around the bend? That may be the case with or without Leonard eventually, but in 2018/19 at least, we can expect something along the lines of the status quo.

Kyle Anderson, SF, 24 (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $6MM deal in 2014
Like any good Spurs prospect, Anderson slowly marinated in winning culture for three years before taking a leap in the final year of his rookie contract. The versatile forward thrived in the minutes made available by the injury to Leonard and could draw interest as a capable, multifaceted young asset on the open market this summer. San Antonio has some flexibility to match a raise if Anderson’s camp goes out and gets one — the Spurs may have no other choice if they end up needing to consider a full roster reboot anyway.

Davis Bertans, PF, 25 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2MM deal in 2016
Although he didn’t play major minutes on a consistent basis for the Spurs in 2017/18, Bertans established himself as a player who could contribute when given an opportunity. The stretch four isn’t likely to command a significant price tag as a restricted free agent, so San Antonio could probably lock him in as an affordable, yet capable rotation piece in an effort to add depth to an aging frontcourt.

Bryn Forbes, SG, 24 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2MM deal in 2016
With much of San Antonio’s rotation planted firmly in their late-30s, competent young players that can be locked in to affordable deals are a special commodity. In Forbes, the club has a combo guard capable of instant offense off the bench. The MSU product could generate interest from other teams looking to add fresh legs and a potent long ball, but the Spurs should have enough financial flexibility to match anything within reason.

Rudy Gay, PF, 31 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $17MM deal in 2017
An Achilles injury forced Gay into signing a short-term “prove-it” deal with the Spurs last summer and the combo forward appears to have done just that. Still, while Gay performed admirably in a reduced role with his new franchise, it’s hard to imagine he’d garner much interest on the open market given his age and relatively underwhelming portfolio as a big investment. Gay looked solid as a supplementary player for the Spurs in 2017/18 and seems to be content. Given that there won’t be a long line of teams interested in overpaying for the 31-year-old in 2018, accepting the $9MM player option for next season may be Gay’s best bet.

Danny Green, SG, 31 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $40MM deal in 2015
While Green’s calling card has become ever more important in today’s NBA, there’s no denying that the three-point specialist benefited from perfect timing the last time he hit free agency. Green could conceivably turn down his 2018/19 player option worth $10MM next season in the hopes of landing a modest raise on a lucrative short-term deal like J.J. Redick did last summer, but the former bit player could also play things safe and continue to enjoy his last haul.

Joffrey Lauvergne, C, 26 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3MM deal in 2017
Lauvergne has seen his role decrease as he’s bounced from destination to destination over the last three seasons, but he remains a vaguely intriguing reserve asset despite the fact that he’ll turn 27 before next season. This summer, the big man’s best option to stick around in the league long-term might be to accept his 2018/19 player option and battle his way into a bigger role in San Antonio’s frontcourt. If he does that, he could open more opportunities for himself.

Tony Parker, PG, 36 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $56MM deal in 2014
The Spurs have consistently paid their veteran point guard eight-digit salaries for the past decade and while his place in the upper echelon of franchise history is secure, the organization doesn’t face any pressure to sign him to a bloated lifetime achievement contract as he enters the twilight of his career. Parker handled a demotion to the second unit professionally this year and has previously said that he’d like to play 20 seasons. That said, if indications that the team’s culture is going south are true, there may not be much of a point to keeping the band together.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Leonard, Spurs, Bickerstaff

Grizzlies center Deyonta Davis is heading into a make-or-break offseason, according to Michael Wallace of the Grizzlies’ website. Davis has one more guaranteed year on his contract at $1.544MM but the Grizzlies might use their top-five lottery pick on another big man to eventually take Marc Gasol‘s place. Davis needs to be more assertive and dominate in Summer League games in order to solidify his NBA future, Wallace continues. His passive play and lack of energy was a big reason why he showed little to no progress in his second season, Wallace adds.

In other news around the Southwest Division:

  • The Spurs had two members in their organization in New York while Kawhi Leonard rehabbed his quad injury there, David Aldridge of NBA.com reports. That shows the team and Leonard’s representatives had regular communication despite the rift between the two parties. However, the disconnect appears to go well beyond whether Leonard should have returned to action, Aldridge adds.
  • The Spurs’ string of 21 straight postseason appearances could end next season if Leonard forces their hand and they trade him, Sean Deveney of Sporting News opines. The player option decisions of guard Danny Green and forward Rudy Gay will also impact where the team’s future is headed, Deveney continues. The team needs to add younger players and draft picks, especially if they put Leonard on the block, Deveney adds.
  • Removing the interim tag from J.B. Bickerstaff was the right move for the Grizzlies, Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial Appeal opines. He earned the respect of the team’s top veterans, Gasol and Mike Conley, and the younger role players showed improvement after he replaced David Fizdale, Calkins continues. The franchise is intent on returning to the playoffs next season and there was no need to have the current roster adjust to a new voice, Calkins adds.

Texas Notes: Mbah a Moute, Tucker, Mavericks, Spurs

After missing the Rockets‘ first playoff series with a dislocated right shoulder, Luc Mbah a Moute hopes to be ready today when his team opens the Western Conference semifinals against the Jazz, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. On Saturday, Mbah a Moute went through his first full practice since the injury and believes he will be able to play.

“I’m ready in my mind,” said Mbah a Moute, who also suffered a dislocated shoulder in December. “I’ve done this already, so I’m not used to it, but I pretty much know what to expect.”

Officially listed as questionable, Mbah a Moute has been an impact player since coming to Houston in free agency last summer. He averaged 7.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and has the best defensive numbers among the Rockets’ rotation players.

There’s more news today out of Texas:

  • P.J. Tucker, Houston’s other key free agent addition, has a lot of similarities with former Rocket Mario Elie, notes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. A member of the city’s two championship teams of the 1990s, Elie was known for his toughness and versatility, two qualities that define Tucker. “I just love his demeanor,” Elie said. “He’s like me. He’s angry on the court and that’s how he should be. He has no friends out there. He just competes. And what I like about him, is he guards multiple positions. That what he does that I really like, just like I did.”
  • The Mavericks could be indirect beneficiaries of LeBron James‘ free agency, suggests Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. No matter where James ends up, a team will likely have to unload a significant salary, which Dallas is in position to absorb. The Mavericks could wind up with Clint Capela from the Rockets, Robert Covington from the Sixers or Julius Randle from the Lakers, or if James stays in Cleveland, Dallas could pursue Pelicans free agent DeMarcus Cousins.
  • The focus in San Antonio will be on Kawhi Leonard this summer, but the Spurs have plenty of free agent concerns, states Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. If Danny Green opts out, Deveney expects him to get offers of $12MM to $14MM per year for three to four seasons, which may be higher than the Spurs are willing to go. It’s also doubtful that they would commit to an expensive long-term deal for Rudy Gay if he opts out.

Spurs’ Rudy Gay Mulling Player Option Decision

With the Spurs’ 2017/18 season now in the books, Rudy Gay will face a decision this summer on whether to play out his contract or return to unrestricted free agency. Gay’s two-year deal with San Antonio includes an $8.8MM player option for 2018/19, and Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News writes that Gay sounds “genuinely torn” over whether to exercise or decline that option.

“Obviously I have to go through and assess some things,” Gay said. “But after a season like this, it’s hard not to want to come back and fight for a championship. I love these guys.”

Gay, whose 2016/17 campaign ended early due to an Achilles injury, made a speedy recovery and was ready to go for the Spurs in the fall. However, he was nagged by heel problems during the winter, limiting him to 57 regular season games, and never seemed fully like his old self.

“A lot of times, I will-powered through games, will-powered through practices,” Gay said, per McDonald. “I didn’t feel like there was anything worse I can go through (than the Achilles tendon injury).”

Although Gay averaged a career-low 21.6 minutes per contest, his per-minute numbers were solid, as he posted 11.5 PPG and 5.1 RPG with a .471/.314/.772 shooting line for the season. He’ll enter this offseason in better health as he considers his option decision.

With NBA free agent spending not expected to be as extravagant this summer as it has been in the past couple years, an $8.8MM salary is probably a fair price for Gay, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him return to San Antonio on that deal. However, that $8.8MM figure is in the ballpark of the projected mid-level exception for 2018/19, and it also wouldn’t be a surprise if another team wanted to sign Gay to a multiyear deal using its full MLE.

While the Spurs have interest in bringing back Gay, other factors will dictate how much they could offer him if he decides to test the market, McDonald notes. Tony Parker and Kyle Anderson will be free agents this offseason for San Antonio, while Danny Green also has a player option for 2018/19, so the Spurs’ cap outlook hinges on a few roster decisions.

Spurs Notes: Leonard, Ginobili, Parker, Gasol

A meeting with Kawhi Leonard will be the Spurs’ top priority of the offseason, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN. Head coach Gregg Popovich is expected to lead the session as the team tries to determine whether it can work through a dispute with its top player and forge a long-term relationship.

An MVP candidate last year, Leonard was limited to nine games this season by a lingering quad injury. He was cleared to return by team doctors, but not by his personal physicians in New York, where he made two extended visits during the season. Rumors persisted of disharmony between Leonard and the organization, and they intensified when he opted not to join the team for its playoff series.

“Kawhi, everybody asks questions, but he’s still here,” Danny Green said after last night’s season-ending loss at Golden State. “He’s still locked in. He’s a part of the team until things change.”

This summer’s meeting will go a long way for the Spurs in deciding whether to offer Leonard a supermax extension valued at about $219MM over five years. Complicating matters, Wright notes, are divorce proceedings between Peter Holt, the team’s former chairman and CEO, and Juliana Hawn Holt, the current chairman and co-CEO, which could affect any major financial decisions for the organization.

Wright offers more news about possible changes coming in San Antonio:

  • Manu Ginobili is signed for $2.5MM next season, but isn’t sure if he’ll return. Ginobili, who will turn 41 in July, plans to make the decision sometime this summer. “As I’ve done it the last two or three seasons, I’ll sit back, relax and, after two or three months, see if I feel retired or not,” he said. “I like to let it season a little bit, to see how I feel. Don’t expect news until July, probably. I just don’t know. I let a month, two months go by and see how I feel. I’m not the type of guy who makes decisions on the fly, and when you are upset, hurt or whatever.”
  • Tony Parker, who turns 36 next month, is headed toward free agency after 17 years with the Spurs. He has expressed a desire to return to the team, but will probably have to accept a significant pay cut after making $15.4MM this season. “I said already I want to keep playing,” Parker stated. “I’m happy I don’t have those retirement parties. I want to keep playing, and we’ll see if it’s in San Antonio. Everybody knows I would love to stay here. But free agency is always crazy, so we’ll see.”
  • Pau Gasol, 37, expressed a desire to play another three to four seasons. He is under contract for $16.8MM next year, with a non-guaranteed $16MM in 2019/20.
  • Green [$10MM for next season], Rudy Gay [$8.8MM] and Joffrey Lauvergne [$1.7MM] all have a June 29 deadline to exercise their player options. “This organization is a big part of me,” Green said, “and I would love to play here again, would love to come back. But things get interesting in free agency.”