With the NBA collective bargaining agreement setting a new era of cap space for their players, both the players and teams have to decide in their best interests. Situations, such as Rudy Gay’s contract with the Sacramento Kings, provides a crossroads toward what the future goals of both the team and player.
The conclusion of the NBA Finals provides a new landscape heading into next season, with teams and players both deliberating between options in relation to their cap space. With the 2017-18 NBA year starting officially on July 1, premium free agents have to begin pondering their possible destinations by beginning verbal negotiations.
Gay was heading into the final year of his contract with the Sacramento Kings, slated for a $14.2 million pay out. However, those around Gay and the Kings were correct in assuming Gay would opt out, in order to pursue a deal more financially stable in his favor, via ESPN’s Zach Lowe:
Can confirm this — Gay has made official what many reported in May he planned to do. He's a free agent. https://t.co/IQwYpfiCG7
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 12, 2017
The 2006-07 All-Rookie selection had until June 10 to decide on his player option with the Kings. Gay’s script changed completely when he tore his left Achilles tendon, adding onto the 32-50 underwhelming season.
Although the Kings wanted Gay to return, the 10-year veteran originally stated he wouldn’t return to the Kings if he did opt out. Now slated as an unrestricted free agent, Gay has the option to test the market and find a proper fit. The 6’8″, 230 lbs. forward can forgo a lucrative deal, should he want less money towards a winning experience.
According to reports, Gay is already ahead of schedule during his recovery from the devastating injury. He averaged 18.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists last season while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from three-point range.