Rudy Gay discusses return to Sacramento, Darren Collison, Isaiah Thomas

Rudy Gay watches the Sacramento Kings courtside at 2014 NBA Summer League. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

LAS VEGAS – Rudy Gay had an opportunity to test the free-agent market this summer.  Instead, the 27-year-old forward decided to stay in Sacramento, at least for the next year, and take the $19 million owed to him in the final year of his current contract.

Gay arrived in Las Vegas Sunday and took in summer league action as the Kings took on the Charlotte Hornets.  After the matchup, the veteran wing discussed his decision to remain a King, as well as a host of other topics, including the addition of Darren Collison and the subtraction of Isaiah Thomas.

  • Gay says it took a little while for him decide on opting into the final year of his contract.  “I wanted to take my time with the decision,” the veteran forward said.  “I wanted to be respectful to the organization.  I took my time to think about it because my kid (was born).  But after that, basically it was right back to business.”
  • Gay was very appreciative of the show of support he’s received from Kings fans.  It meant a lot to him when a number of fans showed up to the airport to greet him when he met with Kings brass before deciding to opt into the last year of his contract.  “Everybody says it, but I honestly think we have the best fans in the whole NBA,” Gay said.  “They’re supportive.  And I didn’t really expect that (kind of reception).  It shows how much people love you.  That’s a big thing when you’re trying to decide what you wanna do.”
  • With the league’s new calendar in effect, Gay and the Kings are now free to discuss a new long-term contract extension. He’s not ruling out the possibility of inking a new deal before the season starts, but Gay also wants to assess the team’s direction and vision before making any long-term commitments.  “I don’t want to create a big fuss like it was before, but I’m kind of taking my time,” the Kings starting small forward said.  “I’m open to doing things, but I really want to see where the organization is going first.”
  • Did Gay consider opting out of his contract and negotiating a new long-term deal this summer? “I just wanted to take my time,” he said.  “If I would’ve opted out, I would’ve looked at my options on different teams.  But with me opting in, I’m not saying there’s no extension going to happen.  It’s just right now I’m trying to see where we’re going as a team and how we plan on getting better.”
  • Gay thinks Sacramento is a place where he can potentially set down roots.  With a new baby boy in his household, the 27-year-old forward knows he has to be mindful of his family with any decision he makes in regards to his NBA career.  “It’s good to be there and good to be wanted and it’s a great place for family,” Gay said of Sacramento.  “Obviously at this point, I wanna win.  And we’ll see what we can do from here on out.”
  • Gay on the departure of Isaiah Thomas: “It’s 20 points a game.  You know, it’s tough.  We were one of the top-scoring teams in the league.  Obviously defense didn’t match our scoring.  We have to figure out a way to make it happen.  And I think (Darren Collison’s) a great pickup for us.  He’s a competitor, as I’ve said before.  He’s shown that he can lead a team.  Hopefully, we can go even further than where we were.”
  • Considering he was traded twice in the last year himself, Gay wasn’t overly surprised by Thomas’ departure.  He’s sad to see Thomas go, but knows that the 25-year-old point guard will thrive as a member of the Suns. “Isaiah’s done a lot for Sacramento, done a lot for the team,” Gay said.  “And he’s gonna be great in Phoenix.  I know he is.  He’s a hard worker and he got everything he deserved.”
  • Gay on what Collison brings to the Kings: “Obviously, he has a different dynamic.  Darren is a different player than IT.  Being that we lost out on IT.  I think he can help us in similar ways.  Obviously, he’s a competitor, great defender and he can score when he needs to.  It takes time.  We don’t know how we’re going to mesh and everything.  But hopefully with the camp and everything, we can learn to play together.”

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.