Rudy Gay Says $19 Million Option 'Isn't Really About the Money'

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 13, 2013

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 9:  New Sacramento King Rudy Gay arrives in Sacramento and meets with local media at Sleep Train Arena on December 9, 2013 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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There's nothing to suggest that the shot-chucking, stat-sheet-banning Rudy Gay would ever consider walking away from the $19.3 million player option he holds for next season.

Well, nothing other than the man himself:

For the second time in less than 12 months, Gay's itching for a fresh start. A prime target of the analytical world's wrath, he's hoping for a different outcome than the one that saw him brought in and sent out by the Toronto Raptors in a span of some 10-plus months.

Acquired by the Sacramento Kings in a seven-player swap on Monday, he's once again adjusting to life on the move. After a dismal start to the 2013-14 season (38.8 field-goal percentage), on the heels of a disappointing 2012-13 campaign (then-career-worst 41.6 percent), he's more than ready for a fresh start:

And that's the only thing on his mind at the moment. No matter how foolish fans might think he'd be for leaving that kind of bread on the table, he's more concerned with the win column than his financial records.

As he told USA Today's Sam Amick, he's seen players walk away from guaranteed gobs of cash and wind up with something sweeter in the end.

""(Andre Iguodala) ended up getting into a great situation, where he possibly could be contending for a championship," Gay said, via Amick. "That's more what it's about."

Iguodala had a $15.9 million option to stick with the Denver Nuggets this summer, but chose instead to sign a four-year deal with the Golden State Warriors at a lower salary (four years, $48 million).

The Kings might not offer Gay the same potential that Iguodala saw in the rising Warriors. But Sacramento does have a monstrous scoring threat in the post in DeMarcus Cousins (22.5 points per game, career-best 49.5 field-goal percentage), the same type of player he thrived around during the early portion of his career with the Memphis Grizzlies.

That past played a big part in leading Gay to Sacramento in the present.

"DeMarcus is a luxury, for us and also for his teammates, because he generates wide open shots for those guys," Kings coach Michael Malone said, via Amick. "So we feel that will hopefully get Rudy back to where he was in those Memphis days."

Gay's in need of some image repair. Once seen as a rising star, he's now viewed as nothing more than a ball-dominant volume scorer.

What he apparently doesn't need, though, is that $19.3 million that could be headed his way next season if he chooses. Not unless he's cashing those checks in the midst of a playoff push.

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