Rudy Gay signs extension with Sacramento Kings

Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay smiles during a break in action against the Toronto Raptors. (Photo: Tobin Halsey)

After a huge win against the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs Saturday night, the Sacramento Kings have given their fan base another reason to cheer today.  Cowbell Kingdom has confirmed through a league source that Rudy Gay has reached an agreement on a three-year, $40 million extension to remain with the Kings.

The final year of Gay’s new contract is a player option, that will allow the 28-year-old forward the opportunity to re-enter the free agency market after the NBA’s new television deal is in full effect.

Gay is in the final year of a five-year, $82 million deal that he signed with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2010.

Sacramento Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro took a gamble when he traded for the high-priced wing last December.  Not only was Gay mired in a shooting slump in Toronto, but his $19.3 million salary was a player option.

Sacramento went on the offensive this summer and ultimately convinced Gay to opt in to the final year of his deal, but negotiations on a new contract were put on hold before Gay joined Team USA for their gold medal run in Spain at the World Cup.

Gay’s extension became a high priority for Sacramento after the Kings got off to a fast start this season.  With their starting small forward now under contract long-term, the Kings have eliminated a potential major in-season distraction.

Gay enters Tuesday’s contest against the New Orleans Pelicans averaging 22.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 37 minutes a night.  His 22.0 PER (Player Efficiency Rating) is the highest of his nine-year career, and he has found a home next to star center DeMarcus Cousins.

The Kings now have their core of Gay, Cousins, Darren Collison, Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas under contract through the 2016-17 season when they move into their new arena in the heart of Sacramento’s downtown district.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports was first to break this story.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is the senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news since 2010. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also contributes to ESPN.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".