Best Memphis player cashes in early
Posted: Monday, July 5, 2010 6:16 am
By JON KRAWCZYNSKI
AP Sports Writer
Rudy Gay landed the first max deal of the summer while LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the star-studded free agent class mulled over offers from NBA suitors.
Gay agreed to a five-year contract on Thursday that will pay him more than $80 million to stay with the Memphis Grizzlies, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The deal will pay Gay more than $13 million starting next season, with annual raises of 10.5 percent, a definite upgrade over the five-year, $50 million offer he turned down last season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal can’t be signed until next Thursday.
The restricted free agent was scheduled to visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday and also was lining up meetings with the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and Miami Heat.
Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley vowed to match any deal that Gay was offered on the open market, and ensured those meetings would never take place by offering the 23-year-old rising star more than any of those other teams could.
The 6-foot-8 Gay averaged 19.6 points and 5.9 rebounds in his fourth season with the Grizzlies last year and is part of a young nucleus — along with Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo — that is being counted on to turn a perennial lottery team into a contender in the powerful Western Conference.
The most highly anticipated summer in league history opened early Thursday morning, with James, Bosh, Wade, Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson and a host of other big names hitting the market.
Published in The Messenger 7.2.10