Rudy's coming back!
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports broke the news just now that Rudy Gay will exercise his 2014-15 player option for $19.3 million and remain with the Kings for at least one more year.
After July 1, the Kings and Gay will be able to negotiate a full four-year contract extension. Gay has been in constant contact with Kings management, and has been impressed with new owner Vivek Ranadive's commitment to constructing a contender, sources said.
The Kings consider Gay a cornerstone of the franchise's future and prolonging the process on extension discussions gives him a chance to further evaluate the team's progress on improving the roster before he fully commits to a deal. If Gay is unable to complete an extension in the next year, he'll become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2015.
Opting in to his option for next season is the most prudent option for Rudy. This way he can continue to negotiate with the Kings as well as evaluate them without being locked down. He will have the option for both long term security and freedom if he thinks the Kings aren't progressing enough as a team all while making $19.3 million in 2014-15, a sum he was incredibly unlikely to get from any other team.
With Gay back on board, the Kings now only have one more major Free Agency decision to make and that's of Isaiah Thomas. Gay's $19.3 million eliminates any potential cap space the Kings might have, and re-signing Thomas could bring the Kings at or above the Luxury Tax line depending on the amount. However, because Rudy's option is so large, the Kings don't really have any room to sign other Free Agents, so roster improvements will have to come largely from trades, which is why we are seeing the 8th pick being so heavily involved in trade rumors. This Rudy news makes it clear the Kings are looking to become good sooner rather than later and as such I would be very surprised if the Kings hold on to the 8th pick.
Welcome back Rudy!