In an offseason full of superstars switching teams, Rudy Gay’s decision to join the San Antonio Spurs was hardly noticed.
Part of that is likely because Gay isn’t in the same basketball class as the likes of Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Chris Paul or some of the other important faces in new places.
Also, Gay is coming off surgery on his Achilles’ tendon — an injury suffered last season with the Sacramento Kings.
But like many Spurs, Gay is a player who has gotten over himself, a player who now seems to value winning over accolades and shots. And now, he said, he’s really ready to roll in his new role under legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
“I came in here with a mindset of I’m a basketball player, I want to play basketball, basketball, basketball,” Gay told reporters. “(Popovich) has kind of had to scale me back a little bit. He told me I’ll go crazy, and I’ve gone crazy before. I guess he knows what he’s talking about.”
Gay, 31, is 6-foot-8 and entering his 12th season. He averaged 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds last season, but managed to play in just 30 games before the injury.
Today, he appears to be enjoying his new winning environment that includes the likes of Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili — even if it is a bit of an adjustment.
“It’s a little different, to say the least,” Gay told reporters. “Now, I don’t only have a coach I can lean on, but a bunch of vets I can also lean on.”
As for the injury, Gay insisted it is no longer a concern.
“I wouldn’t be out here if I had pain,” he said. “It’s just getting used to playing basketball again. I’ve been away from the game for so long. I’ve been on the rehab table. Now it’s time to be a basketball player.”