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Huskies in the NBA: Rudy Gay, Andre Drummond sign with new teams

Two former UConn stars and now NBA veterans have inked new deals

Detroit Pistons v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

With the NBA’s free agency period opening up, a number of former Huskies have already found themselves on new teams.

Center Andre Drummond signed a one-year veteran minimum deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Drummond was most recently a member of the Los Angeles Lakers after agreeing to a buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers at last year’s trade deadline. Many thought he was going to be the missing piece that guided the Lakers to their second consecutive NBA championship, but he never quite gelled with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Now, he will provide key backup minutes to center Joel Embiid, someone who he has butted heads with quite a bit in the past.

The sixers claimed the top spot in the Eastern Conference last year but had another disappointing playoff exit, this time to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Adding a veteran big like Drummond, who has led the NBA in rebounding four different times, could potentially propel them to the next level. However, with All-Star point-forward Ben Simmons still on the trading block, they will likely have a much different overall look next year, so right now it’s unclear if Drummond will mesh with the team that the Sixers trot out on opening day.

Originally from Middletown, CT, Drummond was drafted ninth overall in the 2012 NBA draft after playing one season at UConn. He spent almost eight seasons with the Detroit Pistons, where he was named an All-Star twice (2016 & 2018). He was then shipped to Cleveland in exchange for Brandon Knight, John Henson, and a 2023 second-round pick.

Additionally, small forward Rudy Gay is now a member of the upstart Utah Jazz. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Gay’s deal is worth $12.1M over two years.

Gay was a highly touted recruit out of Baltimore, Maryland, and earned Big East All-Freshman team honors his first season in a Husky uniform. He then followed that up with a sophomore campaign in which he was one of four Naismith Player of the Year finalists, along with JJ Reddick from Duke, Adam Morrison of Gonzaga, and Allan Ray of Villanova. Gay declared for the draft after that season and was taken No. 8 overall by the Houston Rockets, but was then immediately packaged with Stromile Swift and traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for Shane Battier.

He then spent the next seven years in Memphis, establishing himself as one of the premier scoring and play-making small forwards in the league. After a short stint in Toronto, Gay spent four seasons each with the Sacramento Kings, and most recently, the San Antonio Spurs.

Over his incredible 17-year career, Gay never made an All-Star team but has been a model of consistency and class for every team he’s suited up for. With career averages of 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest, Gay could give a balanced Jazz team that extra burst and versatility off the bench that they did not have this past season when they lost in the Western Conference semifinals to the Clippers, after a hot 2-0 start in the series.

While it remains to be seen how much of an impact these talented veterans will make on their new franchises, both are joining the top-seeded teams in their respective conferences last season and are in great positions on paper to help their squads take that extra step into NBA Finals contention.