SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have found a new wing. Or if you prefer, a stretch four. Or even a small-ball center.
Utah as agreed to a two-year deal with free agent forward Rudy Gay, ESPN and The Athletic reported Tuesday. The deal is expected to be worth $12.1 million with a player option in the second season.
Gay checks off a lot of boxes Utah was looking for in a new player. He can defend multiple positions and should give the Jazz an entirely different look defensively if they deploy him as a small-ball center — something they haven't really had in the Rudy Gobert era.
Gay, 34, will lilkely slot in primarily as a stretch four but can play as many as three frontcourt positions, depending on matchups, which helps the team gain some positional versatility. The lack of versatility was partly responsible for Utah losing in the second round in the last postseason.
The former lottery pick shot 38% from behind the 3-point line last season and averaged 11.4 points while playing as a stretch big in San Antonio; he had spent the last four seasons with the Spurs.
The Jazz will use the full taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Gay. That means two things: New owner Ryan Smith is not afraid of a big luxury tax bill, and Utah can only add players via minimum contracts or trades.
The move helped mark the end of Georges Niang's tenure with the Jazz. Niang worked his way from a two-way contract to being one of the best spot-up shooters in the league over four seasons with the Jazz. Niang hit over 40% from 3-point range in each of the last three seasons. Niang agreed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.
Gay's deal comes on the heels of the Jazz agreeing to terms with Mike Conley on Monday — the two have a strong history with each other. Gay and Conley played over five seasons together in Memphis after both going to the Grizzlies as lottery picks.
Both new deals can be signed on Aug. 6.