Recently finishing up his 17th NBA season, Rudy Gay is nearing the end of the line on what has been a remarkable career. He may not have a championship ring, nor any All-Star appearances, but Gay has always been a well-respected player across this league and he's been one of the most underappreciated forwards since being drafted eighth overall in 2006.
A member of the Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors earlier in his career, Gay most recently spent the last two seasons with the Utah Jazz. This offseason, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks and then dealt again to the Oklahoma City Thunder before he was released earlier this week. Now, the 36-year-old is a key free agent available late in the offseason that numerous playoff contending teams may look to sign to a minimum contract.
According to HoopsHype's Michael Scotto, the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, and New Orleans Pelicans are all teams Gay is expected to draw interest from now that he is a free agent.
While his overall production and minutes declined the last two seasons in Utah, Gay still managed to average 6.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in about 16.7 minutes per game off the bench. In a total of 111 games with the Jazz, he shot 39.9 percent from the floor and just over 30 percent from long-range.
Earlier in his career, Gay was a player who was known for scoring at least 20 points per game and he's always been a dangerous mid-range shooter. Any team needing depth at either forward position would be smart to consider signing the veteran, especially teams like the Lakers and Warriors who will be contending for a title this upcoming year.
He's not only someone who will be ready to come off the bench when his number is called, but Gay can also be a great mentor for young players any team has at the small forward or power forward positions. Very few teams in the league are able to have guys with 17-plus years of NBA experience and this is what Gay brings to the table at this point in his career.
The lessons he's learned and experiences he has are invaluable and could prove to be very important to any of the teams mentioned above. Time will tell what organization Rudy Gay will continue his NBA career with, as he is not ready to end his basketball journey just yet.