2019 NBA free agency: 5 potential landing spots for Rudy Gay

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(Photos by Darren Carroll/NBAE via Getty Images)
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5. Oklahoma City Thunder

At the top of their roster, the Oklahoma City Thunder house two of the best players in the league. Say what you want about his shooting percentages, but Russell Westbrook is a stat-stuffing energizer bunny while Paul George elevated himself from perennial All-Star to a top-three MVP candidate.

What’s kept them from the second round of the playoffs in each of the last three seasons has been the lack of ideal complementary pieces, specifically those who can shoot. Steven Adams‘ offense is non-existent outside the restricted area and the same goes for Andre Roberson — OKC’s starting 2-guard before getting injured.

Terrance Ferguson shot a surprising 36.6 percent from distance this past season while Jerami Grant hit a career-best 39.2 percent of his looks from beyond the arc. Neither, however, really brings the defense outside the paint as they’d rather take their chances instead of letting OKC’s dynamic duo run loose near the paint.

Outside the Thunder’s two All-Stars, only Dennis Schroeder is capable of creating his own shot. No floor-spacing and minimal shot creators isn’t a recipe for success in 2019, and it’s why Billy Donovan‘s offense sputtered during the regular season, ranking 16th in efficiency.


Gay would provide everything the Thunder were hoping to get out of Carmelo Anthony two years ago. He can play off the ball for as long as required but is also more than capable of operating in isolation. Even better, his ego isn’t backed by a Hall of Fame resume, which made it difficult for Melo to take a backseat as the third option.

As ideal as this pairing may be, OKC finds itself strapped for cash after handing out a number of lucrative contracts. Bringing in Gay would push a team already with one of the highest payrolls deeper into the luxury tax.

Rumors suggest the possible trading of Adams and the roughly $76 million left on his contract. What such a deal would look like is anyone’s guess and there’s no telling if that would even be enough to bring in Gay given how deep into the luxury tax the Thunder would still be.

This pairing is more hypothetical than anything, but it’s hard not to see the potential fit for both sides. Perhaps Gay would take less if it meant not only competing for a championship, but for a team in desperate need of his skill-set.