Griz get Gay to stay
Posted: Friday, July 9, 2010 6:44 pm
By ADRIAN SAINZ
Associated Press Writer
MEMPHIS (AP) — The Grizzlies serenaded Rudy Gay on Thursday even though he had already agreed to remain in Memphis.
But before he actually signed the five-year contract on Thursday at the FedExForum, he watched a video presentation of some of his highlight plays, a live band played and local politicians praised him for his charitable contributions in Memphis.
“I feel like I won an Oscar or something,” Gay said.
Gay on Thursday inked an $82 million deal to stay with the only team the four-year NBA veteran has known.
More than 150 fans attended the signing ceremony, a show of the optimism for a Grizzlies team with five starters returning from last season.
The Grizzlies playoff run fell short and they finished with a 40-42 record.
Owner Michael Heisley, who signed general manager Chris Wallace and coach Lionel Hollins to multiyear contracts earlier this year, said he expects the Grizzlies to reach the playoffs with Gay.
“We talked today and he is committed to getting us further along in the playoffs than the Memphis Grizzlies have ever been,” Heisley said. “That’s what we are looking for this year. Not next year, this year.”
Gay turned down a five year, $50 million offer last season and became a restricted free agent.
He landed the first maximum deal in this frenetic free agent summer, before he was made a scheduled trip to Minnesota.
He also was lining up meetings with the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and Miami Heat.
An athletic, 6-foot-8 forward, Gay is the longest tenured current Memphis player and was second on the team in scoring last year, averaging 19.6 points and 5.9 rebounds.
He makes up a young starting five which includes guards Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo, forward Zach Randolph and center Marc Gasol.
Published in The Messenger 7.9.10