San Antonio Spurs free-agent predictions: Rudy Gay
By Rob Wolkenbrod
After one season with the San Antonio Spurs, Rudy Gay has the chance to hit free agency. Will he?
When Rudy Gay signed a contract with the San Antonio Spurs in 2017, he agreed to two years but with the second season as a player option. With the 2017-18 season completed, it leaves a decision for the 12-year pro this offseason.
Gay can hit free agency, but there’s also the chance he stays and makes $8.8 million. If so, it could be as a sixth man, pending Kawhi Leonard returns to the team and stays healthy next season.
Will this cash be enough to keep Gay in the Alamo City? Let’s take a look at the situation and if the Spurs will bring him back:
Gay might consider his injury history when making a decision. He suffered a ruptured Achilles in January 2017, which led to the “prove-it” deal with the Spurs last summer. That led to a reinvention of his style, with a spot on the bench and a limitation on his minutes (a career-low 21.6 minutes per game).
However, Gay shot an efficient 47.1 percent from the field (50.6 Effective Field Goal Percentage) and averaged a cool 11.1 points per game, good enough for second on the Spurs. So it did not appear poor for the amount of time he received on the court.
Then, there are the 25 games Gay did not play in due to a heel injury. Will this scare off teams from giving him a financially-stable contract, along with the past Achilles problem?
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As noted, if Leonard returns, it likely pushes Gay to the bench for the second consecutive season. He was a starter for all but two games (aside from his rookie season) in his career, so if the work done in 2017-18 gets viewed as “enough,” will the UConn product eye a starter job with another organization?
Of course, if Leonard leaves, Gay can become the official starter at small forward or power forward. That may give him enough incentive to stay. Although it’s unknown when the situation with San Antonio’s star will be resolved.
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Gay will be 32 before the season starts, and the older he gets, the lesser chance a team will offer him a multi-year deal. That’s without factoring the recent injury history.
Look for Gay to try his hand at a guaranteed, multi-year deal to be locked in with a team. If that does not work, there’s still a role for him in San Antonio, on a short-term contract.