After two years of injuries, Rudy Gay is ready to return to the San Antonio Spurs as a healthy contributor.
When the San Antonio Spurs signed Rudy Gay in 2017, they took on someone who ruptured his Achilles six months prior. A risk, for sure, he opened the 2017-18 season with the Spurs and played on Opening Night, but the ailments eventually returned, with a heel problem that took him out for two months, from December to February.
Gay will return for a second go-around with San Antonio, after signing a one-year, $10 million deal in free agency. It happened after he opted out of the second year of his 2017 contract.
for the 2018-19 season, Gay, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News, said he’s healthy, feels strong and knows there’s something to prove this fall:
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“Everything is clicking,” he said. “I feel athletic again.”
But, look, I’m healthy (and have something to prove), LaMarcus (Aldridge) always finds someway to have a chip on his shoulder.
In Gay’s lone season with the Spurs, he acted as a full-time sixth man for the first time in his career and played in 57 games. Whether or not there would be a larger opportunity elsewhere, he knew a return to the Alamo City was always in the cards, which happened minutes into free agency on July 1:
“I always knew I wanted to come back. When I opted out, I felt like I had options. But the best option was to just stay where I was at.”
No player option accompanied this deal, so Gay will have from October to April to prove himself healthy and to play quality basketball for the Spurs, who have lowered expectations, with the Western Conference’s depth and the changes to the Silver and Black. So the opportunity is there for him to bounce back in this situation and look to capitalize in 11 months.
Gay should return into his role as sixth man, unless Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich wants a starting role out of the 12-year veteran, given Kyle Anderson’s departure. If he stays on the bench, then someone else will join the starting lineup, potentially new signing Marco Belinelli.