The Golden State Warriors made a significant signing on Wednesday, although it was quickly drowned out by the hysteria surrounding Damian Lillard’s blockbuster move to the Milwaukee Bucks.
In a league-shattering deal that will cause reberations across the league, Lillard has been sent to the Bucks, Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara and future draft capital to the Portland Trail Blazers, and Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson to the Phoenix Suns.
The Golden State Warriors’ roster for training camp has further solidified with the addition of an 17-year NBA veteran.
Before the explosive Lillard deal was reported, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed the Warriors would be brining veteran forward Rudy Gay to camp to vie for the franchise’s vacant 14th roster spot.
Although attention of the Gay signing may have quickly turned to the Lillard deal even for Warrior fans, it is somewhat significant given he’s a player the franchise may have had on their radar for more than two months. The 37-year-old was initially traded from the Utah Jazz to the Atlanta Hawks in July, before a move to the Oklahoma City Thunder where he was bought out.
The Warriors will be Gay’s sixth NBA team across an impressive career, but there’s genuine question marks on his ability to impact at this point of his career. That’s seemingly reflected in the franchise’s mindset, with the former top ten pick having to battle for a spot in training camp rather than being guaranteed.
Gay’s numbers have dwindled across his last two seasons with the Jazz, having averaged 5.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and one assist while shooting just 38% from the field and 25.4% from three-point range in 2022-23.
Declining athleticism has seen the 6’8″ Gay play more as a five-man in recent years. He saw 20 and 23% of his time as a center over the last two seasons according to Basketball Reference, potentially giving the Warriors another small-ball option along with Draymond Green and Dario Saric.
Gay wouldn’t be the prototypical ‘wing’ the Warriors have reportedly prioritized heading into training camp, but he does hold the most glowing career resumé with the extensive experience the franchise may crave.