The Sacramento Kings held a presser following today’s practice to announce a three-year, $40 million extension with starting small forward Rudy Gay. Joining Gay at the media table were team majority owner Vivik Ranadive and general manager Pete D’Alessandro.
“When I bought the team about a year ago, and we hired Petey (Pete D’Alessandro) as our GM, the first thing I did is I called Petey up and I said, ‘Petey, get us Rudy Gay,’” Ranadive stated at the beginning of the conference. “So then he said, ‘Ok, ok.’ And the next day I called him up and said, ‘Get us Rudy Gay.’ And I kept calling him and calling him and calling him, and finally he just got fed up and he got us Rudy Gay.”
“We wanted to get it done the day Rudy walked in the door,” added D’Alessandro. “I think we felt that strongly about it, and I understand we’re coming from a business sense, but when you’re building a basketball team it’s about putting the right people and the right players in the right positions. And we felt very strongly, look, before we even did the trade we felt very strongly, after we did the trade, we felt even more strongly. So in terms of the business end of it, it’s about chemistry, it’s about a team of guys and playing as a unit.”
The Kings traded for Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray from the Toronto Raptors on December 9, 2013 in exchange for Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes. The wing scorer joined Sacramento with less than two years remaining on a five-year, $82 million extension he signed with the Memphis Grizzlies in July 2010. Gay was set to enter unrestricted free agency next summer.
“I didn’t want it to be a distraction to myself or the team, so I just wanted to get it over with,” Gay explained in regards to timing of the deal. “I saw the success we kind of had early, we went through a couple bumps early, but I think we still can be a great team, and obviously when you’re looking at somewhere you can be for an extended amount of years, you look at where you are now, where you could be in the future, and I think this team can be very good in the future.”
Gay, who’s on pace for a career-high 21.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game this season, went on to explain how the local community influenced his decision to bypass testing the open market.
“Since the first day I walked in, I felt the love from the fans,” said Gay. “By the way, Sacramento has some of the best fans I’ve ever been around. To be here for three more years is an honor, just to for play for them. And also, even more about the city, not just being at the games, but being outside of the court and being around people, they welcome you. But the team welcomed me as soon as I got here, you know, Cuz (DeMarcus Cousins) was a big help, and also spending the summer with him (on Team USA) kind of swayed me into wanting to be here longer.”
“Being here is kind of what I turned into,” Gay said. “I’m at a point in my life where it’s just, I need stability. And Sacramento is definitely that family town that I was looking for.”
The 28-year-old’s first two years on his extension are guaranteed, followed by a player option. This will allow Gay to sign a more lucrative contract in the future as the NBA’s new TV deals with ESPN and Turner promise to pump more money into league salaries. The extension also ensures that the Kings’ current core of players will be under control when the new downtown arena opens for the 2016-17 season.
But for now, the nine-year veteran can settle in at home.