New Orleans Hornets big man Aaron Gray has informed his team that he will be opting out of his contract and testing the waters of free agency:
The New Orleans Hornets lost another player to unrestricted free agency Monday afternoon when backup center Aaron Gray informed the team he was opting out of the last year of his contract.
Gray stood to earn $1.06 million next season if he had picked up his option, Earlier in the day, the Hornets lost veteran power forward David West, who decided to walk away from the last year of his contract.
“I think he really enjoyed being with New Orleans, the opportunity to come free made it a good time to explore the market for him,” said Jason Zanik, one of Gray’s representatives, who added that Gray isn’t concerned about the uncertainty of the NBA’s labor situation.
Though the Spurs have started the offseason by making some aggressive moves in the draft, the team remains woefully undersized compared to its Western Conference competitors. At 7’0″ and 270 pounds, Aaron Gray would make a great target for a team trying to increase its big man bona fides. In twelve minutes of play per game for the Hornets, Gray averaged a little over four rebounds and three points per game; however, with a contract option of a little over $1 million he would be a remarkably cheap addition to a very top heavy Spurs’ payroll.
With the potential of a lock-out looming and several expensive contracts on the books, the Spurs will have to take some chances on some “lesser knowns” if they want to build a roster to compete immediately for a championship in what in all liklihood will be Tim Duncan’s final season. The opportunity to study under Duncan, and the chance to play for a championship-ready team have to be attractive to a guy like Gray who, at 27, is in the mid to later stages of his career.
Could this be an opportunity worth pursuing for the Spurs front office?