Grizzlies fans have been waiting to see if owner Michael Heisley would actually pay to keep his core players together for several years now. With Rudy Gay, the oldest of Memphis's core players, entering free agency today, it seemed like we might be at least a couple weeks to have an answer.
But it didn't take long into the free agency period to prove Heisley's promise true, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported:
Rudy Gay has agreed to a five-year, $81.6 million deal with Memphis, including a player option on fifth, his reps at Octagon confirmed to Y!
And while most fans will be relieved to see Heisley finally reinvesting in the Grizzlies, this contract is bound to be polarizing. The Grizzlies will be paying Gay, a player who has never even made an All-Star game, over $16 million a year on average.
By receiving this maximum deal, Gay has placed himself in a pay-scale well above the tier of players with numbers similar to himself, players like Andre Iguodala, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Danny Granger. Instead he'll be paid more like LeBron James, Brandon Roy, and Chris Paul.
The success of the Memphis Grizzlies franchise is no longer about Heisley putting his money where his mouth is.
After today it's all about if Rudy Gay can put his game where his money is.