SACRAMENTO -- Following the Sacramento Kings’ home finale Tuesday night, the team’s forgotten man sat in to field questions from the media for the first time since January. The last time we saw Rudy Gay in the locker room, he was on crutches with a hoodie pulled over his head and a horrible diagnosis in his heart.
“I’d say the toughest part is over,” Gay said following the Kings win over the Suns. “It’s been one of those situations where you wake up and you feel like the world is over some days and some days you’re motivated.”
A ruptured Achilles tendon is serious, but it’s nowhere near the same surgery it was a few years back. The recovery time has been cut in half with medical advancements and Gay is feeling good about his future.
“I feel like I’m way ahead of schedule,” Gay said. “I’m doing things now that I didn’t think I would be able to do this early. I’ve even surprised doctors, so that says a lot.”
During his recovery, Gay has spoken to Kobe Bryant and Wes Matthews to help gather information on the injury, but each injury is specific to the player and how their body responds to treatment.
Gay has a player option at $14.3 million to remain in Sacramento for next season. He will make the decision on his future when the time comes.
“One thing at a time,” Gay said when asked about his contract status. “I think I’ve been doing well just worrying about my injury right now, so I’m going to stick with that and let the people I pay to handle that, handle that.”
Gay, 30, signed with Rock Nation earlier in the season before the injury. His team will have to assess his value on the open market or see if his best plan of attack is to stick in Sacramento for one more year and prove he is healthy enough for a long-term deal going forward.
After four years in the Capitol City, Ben McLemore's time is up.
The Kings have declined to extend a qualifying offer to McLemore, making him an unrestricted free agent, a league source confirmed to NBCSportsCalifornia.com's James Ham
The former No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft out of Kansas, McLemore played in 61 games this past season. He averaged 8.1 points and 2.1 rebounds in 19.3 minutes.
McLemore's best season with the Kings came in 2014-15 when he averaged 12.1 points in 82 games.
But the 24-year-old saw his role cut back in 2015-16 under former head coach George Karl. His minutes dropped from 32.6 to 21.2 in 2015-16.
All-Rookie First Team shooting guard Buddy Hield projects as the Kings' starter heading into the 2017-18 season. Sacramento has several other options at shooting guard including Malachi Richardson and Garrett Temple.
The news was first reported by ESPN.
The Sacramento Kings continue to add young talent to their growing roster.
Serbian star Bogdan Bogdanovic is primed to join the Kings this summer on a three-year deal, league sources confirmed to NBC Sports California.
The deal will reportedly be worth between $30 and $36 million.
Bogdanovic, 24, is fresh of a European championship with Fenerbahçe of the Turkish super league and a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The team is restricted from confirming the reports until July 6, when the NBA’s free agent moratorium ends, but there has been a growing optimism over Bogdanovic joining the Kings for some time.
Sacramento acquired the rights to Bogdanovic as part of a 2016 draft night trade that sent the eighth overall selection (Marquese Chriss) to the Phoenix Suns for picks No. 13 (Georgios Papagiannis) and No. 28 (Skal Labissiere). The Suns selected Bogdanovic with the 27th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, but had failed in their attempts to lure the young shooting guard to the US.
Bogdanovic is expected to compete with Buddy Hield, Garrett Temple and Malachi Richardson for minutes at the shooting guard position this season. The 6-foot-6, 194-pound guard averaged 14.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 27.9 minutes per game while shooting 43 percent from behind the arc this season for Fenerbahçe.