NBA Roundtable

Memphis Re-signs Gay

In Free Agency on July 2, 2010 at 2:30 am

The Memphis Commercial reports

The Memphis Grizzlies and restricted free-agent Rudy Gay have agreed in principle on a five-year, $82 million contract, The Commercial Appeal has learned.

Gay’s starting salary will be the maximum allowed a player with his experience – projected to be roughly $13.3 million – according to sources.

Yahoo Sports adds

“We have a verbal agreement on a deal,” said Gay’s agent, Jeff Austin.

The fifth and final year of the contract will be at Gay’s option.

The Grizzlies had the right to match any offer made to Gay because he’s a restricted free agent. But by reaching agreement quickly, they prevented another suitor – like the New Jersey Nets – from front-loading a contract offer with a signing bonus that could have necessitated a first-year payment of $20 million.

Value For Money?

On current ability, Rudy Gay is a good scorer with mediocre defensive and rebounding ability. Worth around $8-9 million.

On future ability, potential, Rudy Gay can become a good to very good scorer and defender and mediocre rebounder. A perennial All-Star. Worth around $12-14 million.

The Grizzlies paid $82 million over five years, an average of $16.4 million. Hence, the Grizzlies overpaid by a couple of million per annum.

Fulfilling Potential

Will Rudy Gay fulfill his potential on the Grizzlies?

Emm, I think it’s doubtful.

I think their team lacks the top tier talent + defensive ability required for Gay to reach his maximum potential.

I think Gay needs a more defensive orientated environment to improve his defensive focus + effort to his full ability. And, I think the Grizzlies lack of top notch players will force Gay into a larger role than he is able to fill which will in turn hold him back. Namely his efficiency as a scorer.

So, I would expect Gay to become a good scorer + good defender + mediocre rebounder. Rather than a good-to-very good scorer and very good defender. I think that is the most likely (but not certain) outcome for Rudy Gay.

How much would that player be worth?

A good scorer (20ppg on 54% TS%), good defender and mediocre rebounder and a limited passer.

I would value a player with those characteristics at around $10-11 million which would have the Grizzlies overpaying Rudy Gay by an average of $5.4 to 6.4 million per annum.


In summary, this is very likely to become a bad contract for the Grizzlies.

Ideally, Rudy Gay is a third option offensively and the third best player on a team overall. Memphis is very unlikely to be able to place Gay in a role of that nature. Consequently, Memphis are unlikely to be successful during Rudy Gay era which means that there is a good chance that they trade him before he finishes this contract.

  1. Dave,

    I think you might be under-estimating Rudy Gay’s ability to become one of the marquee wing players in the league … as a top notch scorer … in the not-too-distant future, as other notables continue to age [e.g. Kobe, Ray Allen, Pierce, etc.].

    Rudy Gay was the player who Toronto SHOULD have selected in the 2006 NBA Draft … after trading out of the No. 1 [overall] position … because he had/has this capacity to excel at this position and would have been a terrific complement to Chris Bosh.

    Over the next few seasons, expect R-Gay to beome one of the highly coveted players across the entire NBA.

  2. I think Gay can be a top 10 scorer in the league. his size and athleticm are tops, but he needs to work on his shot, post up and free throw % to be an elite scorer. the great thing is that he doesnt have to be the Kobe, Lebron type player for the Grizz. WIth Randolph, Gasol and Mayo contributing offensively, Gay can quietly get his

  3. Khandor,

    What type of improvements do you think Gay can make to his game offensively?

    I am not impressed enough with Rudy’s scoring efficiency to consider him an elite scorer. Add in his lack of passing ability and I think he is a somewhat limited in terms of being/becoming an elite go-to option offensively.

  4. Dave,

    Rudy Gay only turns 24 years of age next month. He is 3 years away from reaching his zenith as an elite level athlete/NBA player.

    As the other top scorers in the league continue to age, Rudy is going to begin to look better and better … especially, as he continues to improve his individual game:

    i. Off the bounce; and,
    ii. In terms of his Catch and Shoot consistency.

    He is already one of the better offensive-minded wing players when it comes to being able to rebound and defend his own position, while creating and minimizing individual match-up problems for the opponent, given his size and specific skill-set … i.e. he can function as a 2, 3 or 4.

    Once gets away from Memphis … if their team continues to be stagnant … and hooks-up with an established franchise, like the Lakers or Celtics, etc. … like Ray Allen has done in the latter part of his career, IMO, he is going to be hailed as one of the best scorers in the NBA.

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