Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gay’s NBA career may be winding down, but he still has something to prove heading into the new season.
Gay addressed last year and the upcoming season with the media on Sunday.
“Last year wasn’t what I expected, with my situation," Gay said. "Team wise I think we fell short. That’s no secret, we fell short. I’m here now, and after 17 years, I still have something to prove.”
Gay also talked about his health and getting back on track.
“Obviously, last year didn’t end like I wanted it to," Gay said. "But that motivated me to get back into the gym and get back to the basics. I’m a lot more healthy than I was at this point last year.”
Gay was signed as a free agent last year to a three-year, $18 million contract, and to this point, it just hasn’t worked out for both sides. He averaged 8.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game with the Jazz.
Gay fell out of the rotation in the playoffs and whether he starts the season on Utah’s roster is still up in the air. The Jazz are now on the hook for $12 million with Gay over the next two years and are facing a trade market that doesn’t exist for a player that just turned 36 years old.
The Jazz have some options moving forward in regards to how the Gay situation could play out. The team could give him 15-20 minutes a game in hopes that his trade value would increase with stellar play on the court. The problem with that option is that it comes at the expense of the newly-acquired young players that need live reps to develop.
The other scenario would be the Jazz and Gay coming to terms on a buyout. It would cost the Jazz close to the $12 million that’s left on his deal, and the amount that Gay would agree to give up would be subtracted from the overall cap hit.
If Gay doesn’t agree to a buyout, then Utah could outright waive him, but would still be on the hook for what’s left on his contract. His window to win his first championship is closing, and he could be motivated to leave Salt Lake City in search of a better fit.
Either way, Gay deserves to be playing for a contender in the twilight of his career, and here’s to hoping he finds his way onto a playoff-bound roster. The Jazz still need to trim the roster to 15 players before the first game scheduled for October 19.
Follow Patrick on Twitter @pbyrnesNBA.