The Sacramento Kings remain “optimistic they can reach an agreement on an extension” with forward Rudy Gay this summer, reports Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
On Sunday, it was widely reported that Gay would exercise his $19.3 million player option for next season, ensuring his return to the Kings for at least another year. However, it appears Sacramento hopes to keep the high-scoring forward around even longer, and will consider ponying up the cash to do it.
What’s unclear at this point, above all else, is what kind of contract Gay deserves. After disappointingly badly on a huge deal originally signed with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2010, Gay’s reputation has taken a serious hit and it’s difficult to gauge how most NBA teams view him now.
The Kings clearly like Gay, though, and for good reason. After joining the team in early December via trade from the Toronto Raptors, he quickly shook off many of the inefficient habits he developed there.
In 55 games with Sacramento last season, Gay averaged 20.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. The points and assists would represent career-highs over a full year, but more importantly, Gay shot 48 percent from the field and earned more than five free throws per game. Gay didn’t simply produce in Sacramento, he did so with some semblance of efficiency.
That could have a number of teams interested in his services should he hit unrestricted free agency next summer, but clearly the Kings have some other ideas in mind, even if it’s debatable whether the pairing Gay long-term with DeMarcus Cousins is actually a good plan.
And if the two sides don’t reach a deal, Gay can simply walk in a year after being paid handsomely, leaving the Kings will a ton of freed up cap space. Either way, it’s a decent position for Sacramento to be in, so we’ll see how they use their leverage from here to negotiate with Gay. If one thing is certain, he’s getting a paycut going forward.