Gay will become restricted free agent

Updated: November 3, 2009, 5:23 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay will become a restricted free agent this summer after he and the team were unable to strike a deal before the NBA's 11:59 p.m. ET Monday deadline, The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal reported.

"We've agreed to not agree," Gay's agent, Jeff Austin, told The Commercial Appeal. "We looked at different ways we might try to get something done and we weren't able to agree."

An NBA source said the Grizzlies' final offer was a five-year deal worth about $50 million, according to the report, while Gay was seeking a deal similar to the five-year, $65 million extension the Portland Trail Blazers agreed to with LaMarcus Aldridge.

The two sides had been talking since the NBA's free-agent period began in July. Gay is the team's longest-tenured player and leading scorer the past two seasons.

On Monday, before the Grizzlies' overtime loss at Sacramento, Gay said he wasn't disappointed by the lack of an extension, according to the report.

"Not at all," he said, according to The Commercial Appeal. "You've got to stick to your guns when you come to this. I know my worth and we didn't get to it. Obviously, their offer wasn't what I expected. But it's not a bad situation."

Neither the team nor Austin would characterize the contract talks, according to the report. But Austin said Gay's contract status might have been weighing on his mind Sunday, when, at the end of a 133-123 loss at Denver, he and teammate O.J. Mayo had to be separated after getting into a shouting match.

"It's stressful for anybody," Austin said, according to the report. "He's very comfortable with the result either way and that's a fact."

Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley was traveling out of the country Monday but told The Commercial Appeal last weekend that the team values Gay moving forward.

"There's no question we have a high appreciation for Rudy and his talent," Heisley said, according to the report. "Now the question is how do you get to the right deal? If you're asking me, am I willing to pay as much as I can possibly pay? No. That's not appropriate in today's financial climate.

"We're going to make a very attractive offer to Rudy," he added, according to the report. "We think he's a great player. They think he's a great player. We have a very high opinion of Rudy."

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