September 19, 2016, 10:11 am
Rudy Gay has informed the Sacramento Kings that he’ll exercise his player option and probably won’t return to Sacramento next offseason. That is, of course, assuming he isn’t traded beforehand.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical has the scoop, wherein Sacramento apparently has no intentions of accepting a discounted package for the Villanova product.
There’s a couple ways to read this, but the major takeaway is that Rudy Gay really wants to get out of Sacramento. It’s not particularly surprising that he won’t return to the Kings, but him letting them know this far in advance should kickstart their search for a dance partner on the trade market.
Despite ownership’s misgivings about trading a player of Gay’s caliber, particularly in a season where they’re trying to compete in a new barn, it really would serve the franchise best of Vivek and company bite the bullet. Holding onto Gay for the entire season will leave a massive hole in the roster when he eventually departs and leave the Kings with their thumbs up their noses in a scenario that Gay literally told them was going to happen.
They might also find things more difficult the longer they wait into the season as teams firm up their cap sheets. With less balls in the air right now it’d be easier for a potential trade partner to clear up the space needed to bring in a guy like Gay. There’s also the aspect of teams wanting Gay’s Bird Rights (so they can go over the cap to re-sign him if necessary) affecting potential trades; teams are already hesitant to bring in a flow-altering rental and would probably like some kind of commitment from Gay if possible.
Again, he really wants to leave- he’s not even going to pit Sacramento and his Bird Rights against other bidders in free agency. That alone should be enough to show Vivek that he won’t be able to persuade Gay into staying, but only time will tell.
There’s also this interesting note:
“Gay had been encouraged by the appearance of stability under former GM Pete D’Alessandro and coach Michael Malone, but that confidence in the franchise waned with the turnover that ensued.”
Not a shocking revelation, but what a horrendous mistake Malone’s dismissal was. Conversely, D’Alessandro wasn’t necessarily a stabilizing force during his tenure so that’s an interesting tidbit from Woj (or whoever he’s talking to).
Rudy Gay simply has to be traded, lest the Kings look like court jesters once again.