The San Antonio Spurs have finally made an addition in free agency and it comes in the form of Rudy Gay. The 30-year-old forward has agreed to a two-year, $17.2 million deal, with the second year as a player option. Unfortunately for the Spurs, this signing won’t make them appreciably better next season.
Yes, Gay is a solid player, but he’s coming off a devastating Achilles tendon injury and may not even be ready to open the season. And no one knows what kind of player he will be when he returns.
While he averaged 18.7 points per game in 30 contests with the Sacramento Kings last season before he got hurt, Gay’s numbers across the board don’t scream “game-changer.” He shot 45.5 percent from the field, 37.2 percent from 3-point range and averaged 6.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists. All of that came when he could have been racking up huge numbers for an awful team. Factoring in his injury and playing on a Spurs team that shares the ball, we should expect those numbers to plummet.
When he returns to the court, Gay will likely start alongside Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker (when he’s finally healthy), Danny Green and LaMarcus Aldridge. That’s a decent group, but it’s not going to come close to challenging the Golden State Warriors and lags behind the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves on paper.
After the Gay deal and re-signing Patty Mills to a four-year, $50 million contract, the Spurs don’t have much room left under the salary cap. They now have an estimated $94.5 million committed to their active roster, with nearly $3 million in dead money. That leaves roughly $3.3 million left. With that paltry amount, San Antonio still has to sign Pau Gasol and restricted free agent Jonathon Simmons.
The Spurs obviously want Simmons back, so they’ll almost certainly try to match any offer he gets. But with those cap numbers it’s going to be very difficult, unless they can make a move to open up some space. Moving Green seems the most likely option available to Gregg Popovich and company.
Again, I think Gay is a solid player, and the Spurs got him for relatively little money. But he’s a complete wildcard coming off an Achilles injury and might prevent them from getting Simmons back. That makes this a questionable addition at best.