Rudy Gay was once the star of the Memphis Grizzlies, but his expensive contract caused the team to get rid of him. He spent his first full six years with the Grizzlies and then the first 42 games of the 2012-2013 season with them before being traded to the Toronto Raptors. Gay averaged 20.1 points per game in his second year in the league, but never surpassed the 20-point mark with Memphis again.
Rudy then played 33 games in Toronto to end his 2012-2013 campaign, averaging 19.5 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game and 1.7 steals per game in that stretch. He then started the 2013-2014 season with Toronto, but only played 18 games with the team. He averaged 19.4 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, 2.2 assists per game, 1.6 steals per game and 1.3 blocks per game in that stretch. He was then traded to the Sacramento Kings, where he spent the remaining of this year. In Sacramento, he averaged 20.1 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 3.1 assists per game, 0.6 blocks per game and 1.2 steals per game.
Rudy Gay now has the chance to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, something he has never had the opportunity to discover. He is set to receive $19.3 million next season with the Kings if he chooses to exercise his player option. Gay most likely won’t receive a contract like that from any other team, making this scenario interesting for Rudy and the team. No matter what he decides to do, here are five potential changes of scenery for Rudy Gay:
Out of these five teams, Dallas is the team with the most promise for Rudy to win. They made the playoffs this year, barely, and made a good run at the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. They ended up losing in Game 7 as the Spurs went on to the NBA Finals. Their star player Dirk Nowitzki is set to become a free agent this summer, although it is very unlikely that he will leave Dallas. He has also expressed interest in taking a pay cut to allow Dallas to have more salary cap space to go after another top-level free agent this offseason.
With Dirk coming back at a reduced salary, it will pave the way for players like Rudy Gay to be picked up by Dallas. Gay would be added to a solid core of players, led by Nowitzki and Monta Ellis. Dallas will have another top-level scorer to help them make some noise in the Western Conference.
With the Phoenix Suns under a first-year head coach, they weren’t expected to do much this season. However, they proved all doubters wrong and made huge strides this season, acting as the surprise team of the year. They were in the chase to make the playoffs this year after being projected as a lottery pick team at the beginning of the year. They ended up missing the playoffs by one game. They will also have about $31 million in salary cap space this summer.
The Suns have a very talented group of young players that will bring attention to all-star players in the free agent market. They have the NBA’s 2014 Most Improved Player and is a team moving on up in the West, which is good news given to the level of difficulty the West plays at. Rudy Gay would compliment well with these young players.
I know it must be weird to hear them referred to as the Hornets now, after switching their name from the Bobcats. Like the Phoenix Suns, they are led by a young, talented core starting with their point guard Kemba Walker. Down low, Al Jefferson has become one of the best post man scorers in the league. The Charlotte Hornets have around $18 million in cap space to improve this summer, which is definitely enough space to sign Rudy Gay to their squad.
Being able to add a great scorer to a team that made that playoffs would be bad news for other teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Cleveland Cavaliers traded for Luol Deng early in the season, hoping he would solve their problems at small forward. Unfortunately, Luol Deng will become a free agent with no intentions of returning to the team. This means it would make perfect sense for a player like Rudy Gay to come in and join the team. The Cavs will have a little over $16 million in cap space to spend this summer, which is enough to sign Gay to a contract. Yes, he would be risking less money, but he would get the chance to work with a group of talented young players and a team that will most likely make some noise next season.
Keep in mind, the Cavs also have the number one pick in the NBA Draft this summer. The Cavs have a lot of promise for next year and players like Rudy Gay shouldn’t be disappointed or ashamed about joining the Cavaliers.
Obviously, Rudy Gay returning to the Sacramento Kings is a huge possibility. He didn’t really spend that much time in Sacramento, so seeing him leave so soon would be a little weird. Plus, it’s not like he played bad with the Kings. He played some of the best basketball of his career. In addition, they would be able to offer him a lot more than most teams. He had a good gig with the Kings and I think it would be stupid of him to leave his situation without seeing where it ends up.
The Kings have a lot of promise coming out of their frontcourt. DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most promising young post players, even though he still has a lot to learn. They also have the seventh overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. With this year’s draft as deep as it is, they are sure to get a great, young and talented player to add to the team.