NBA

NBA Rumors: Gay Waiting Until Offseason for New Deal?

Rudy Gay doesn’t seem eager to sign an early extension… Kobe Bryant to play entire preseason and more!

Yannis Koutroupis profile picture
Updated 12 months ago on
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Rudy Gay waiting until July?

Not having a contract or agreement beyond this season is fine with Gay. He’s focused on this season and will allow his representatives to worry about negotiations.

“We started (negotiations) before I went to Spain with the USA team, stopped and haven’t picked it up yet,” Gay said after Monday morning’s practice. “It’s something that I really don’t need over my head right now. I’m trying to make this team better and also be better myself. And I didn’t need it over there. That’s something that I think will handle itself.”

Gay isn’t opposed to more talks. But he has no desire to be involved in the art of making a deal.

“I’m not going to get involved until it’s near the end, or both sides feel it needs to happen,” Gay said. “Then I’ll make a decision.”

via Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee

Gay could have become an unrestricted free agent this offseason if he declined his $19.3 million player option, but instead exercised it to stay in Sacramento for another season. Gay, who was acquired by the Kings early last season after a slow start with the Toronto Raptors, improved his play significantly after the change of scenery, and was encouraged enough by what he saw with the team to stay on for another season and see how they progress.

The Kings and Gay have until June 30 to negotiate a contract extension, but based on the structure of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, even the Kings’ best offer is unlikely to get Gay to put his name on the dotted line. By hitting free agency Gay becomes eligible for a five year extension from the Kings, whereas right now he could only sign on for three additional years.

Gay turned 28 in August and in the back of his mind knows that the free agent market will likely be a lot different when he’s 31 and closer to the end of his prime than it will be this summer as he’s still in the early/middle stages of it. That’s where signing an early extension doesn’t make any sense for him, even if he did become sold on Sacramento and wanted to make it his home long-term. The Kings are smart to build up good faith by offering him a contract now, though, as it should give them an early advantage in the likely scenario that he hits the open market this summer.

Butler, Bulls making progress on new deal

Jimmy Butler’s representatives and the Chicago Bulls have started discussions on a possible contract extension.

“I want to be here,” Butler said. “I think the Bulls want me here. So however long it takes, as long as we get it worked out. Basketball is my main focus, not really the contract situation.”

Butler would become a restricted free agent next offseason if a new deal is not reached.

“They definitely are [working on it],” he said. “I think we’re really good right now, moving in the right direction. But that’s between them. I just got to be with my teammates and whatever I do between myself and that basket will handle that a lot easier.

via Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago

Because he is coming off of his rookie deal, Butler is in the opposite position that Gay is in. He is not limited to just having three years tacked on to his current deal. He’s eligible to receive up to a five year extension until October 41, and seeing as how important he’s become to the Bulls, it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t want to lock him up early rather than letting him become a restricted free agent next summer.

With the recent moves that they have made, specifically the trading of Luol Deng, Butler has emerged as their top perimeter player. He’s really come into his own over the last two years while Derrick Rose has been ailing. He’s been an absolute work horse for coach Thibodeau, and is one of the better two-way swingmen in the league at just 25 years of age. Even though they have a lot of money tied up in the likes of Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson, the Bulls know how big of a steal they have in Butler, and will likely reward him with an extension that he can comfortably commit to over the appeal of restricted free agency.

Kobe Bryant will play the entire preseason

via Twitter

If Bryant indeed plays for the entire preseason, that alone would be more game action than he saw in all of the 2013-14 campaign. He practiced for two hours and 15 minutes on Tuesday, the first day of official practice for the Lakers, and by all accounts looked like his old self.

The Lakers are going to need a huge year from Bryant just to be in the mix to make the playoffs, so the fact that he’s going to be able to get a full preseason in after very little true 5-on-5 action over the last 17 months is a big step in the right direction. It should have him ready to play at a high level from opening night of the regular season on.

How high of a level can he get to? We’ll just have to wait and see. Bryant is coming off of the two most serious injuries of his career and is now 36 years old. There are a lot of people who understandably think his days of being an elite shooting guard are done, but he’s fueled by his doubters and out of L.A. all the talk is that he’s still at the top of his game. Until that’s displayed on live television on a consistent basis, though, it will be questioned. His play in the preseason could be as important as anybody’s to watch and monitor.

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Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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