SACRAMENTO - When Rudy Gay arrived in Sacramento on Tuesday to meet with Kings management and ownership about his future with the organization, he was greeted by dozens of fans at the airport, all urging him to remain with the team.
Gay, who turns 28 years old in August, holds a player option for next season. Should he choose to remain with the Kings, it will pay him $19.3 million for the 2014-15 NBA season. He also could opt out of next season with Sacramento and become an unrestricted free agent, where he'll become one of the biggest names available in free agency.
The Kings' brass are hoping that the message from the fans, co-signed by the franchise, was heard loud and clear. They've made no secret that they wish to retain Gay, who appeared in 55 games with Sacramento after being acquired in a trade with Toronto.
"This is unreal," Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro said about the fan support. "How many places can you go where you get this support? That is a huge message."
D'Alessandro and head coach Michael Malone were the first to greet Gay as he stepped off a private charter at Sacramento Jet Center. He then quickly posed for pictures and signed autographs for some of the fans before leaving with team management to spend the rest of the day meeting with the team.
Gay was not allowed by the team to speak to media, however he did thank the crowd for their show of support.
D'Alessandro said the Kings message has not wavered since the end of the season - retaining Gay remains the organization's top priority.
"This is our chance to hear what he thinks and we'll be excited to do that," D'Alessandro said.
Team management and majority owner Vivek Ranadive spent the afternoon with Gay and treated him to dinner. Gay was also seen via social media spending time with California Governor Jerry Brown and visiting the State Chamber at the Capitol.
Following the trade to Sacramento, Gay went on to average 20.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. His shooting percentage improved to 48.2 percent from the 38.8 percent he shot with the Raptors in 18 games.
The deadline for Gay's decision to stay or go is June 30.
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