Rudy Gay was one of the biggest names in the NBA Free Agent market. And while he wasn’t considered an impact player such as Gordon Hayward or Paul Millsap, most teams believed he had the potential to be useful as a scorer.
The Boston Celtics, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and even the Cleveland Cavaliers were potential destinations for the small forward. Gay entered the free-agent market after declining his $14.3M player option, and several teams could have used him as a scorer off the bench. However, a surprise team won his sweepstakes, adding another option to an already stacked offense.
We are talking about the San Antonio Spurs. Nobody saw them coming, but the Spurs ended with the former Sacramento Kings player. The reported two-year, $17 million deal is actually a sweet deal for both parties. On one side, it will allow Gay to play for a contender. And on the other side, the Spurs can have Gay on a relatively cheap deal. Considering how crazy the market has looked in recent years, this could be a huge steal. Especially if we analyze the kind of player he is.
It is hard to imagine where the Spurs can use Gay, though. Considering Kawhi Leonard is the franchise star, Gay won’t be the starting SF. And since he can’t play as a shooting guard, the options are a bit limited. Either he plays as a power forward on a stretch-four role, or comes off the bench. And while playing him as a stretch-four could spread the floor nicely, a bench role would fit him better.
Think about it. Gay would be a great addition to the Spurs’ second unit, playing next to Patty Mills forming deadly matchups against opposing second units. And while this move might not help the Spurs on their quest to top the Golden State Warriors, it is helpful nonetheless. Gay is rehabbing from injury, but everybody knows the type of scorer he is. His mid-range game is among the best in the league. He can shoot from deep as well. And he has improved his post game considerably as well.
Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds last season, but he was limited to 30 games due to an Achilles injury. His rehab has gone well, however, and all signs indicate he will be healthy for next season. And he is quite durable as well, having played at least 65 games in each of the past five seasons.
Basically, the Spurs signed a proven, durable scorer to a two-year deal on a value well below the market average. That sounds like something the Spurs have often done, right? After all, this is only one of the reasons why they have been one of the most consistent, successful teams over the past 20 years.