One name that has consistently surfaced in trade rumors over the last year is Rudy Gay. The Sacramento Kings swingman has been mentioned in plenty of potential trade scenarios, and the rumors have picked up even more steam recently when the 30-year-old reportedly met with Kings brass and told them he wouldn’t be returning after this season.
Gay has a player option for next season and has made it clear that he will become an unrestricted free agent in July, when the salary cap will rise to over $100 million.
It seems like Gay’s time in Sacramento will come to an end at some point before February’s trade deadline, so that the Kings can get something in return for the veteran forward rather than lose him for nothing over the offseason.
Yesterday, Gay talked to reporters and tried to brush aside the trade rumors that have dominated headlines recently.
“I wake up every day and get ready to play the next game,” Gay told reporters, according to ESPN.com. “I’m with the Sacramento Kings. I prepare as if I’m going to be with the Sacramento Kings. I have no choice but to work for the Sacramento Kings. All the speculation is B.S. Really, it’s out of my control. I’ll come here and be with my teammates and act as if I’ll be here all year.
“I hear it. I’ve been traded before. If I came here as if I didn’t want to be here, I wouldn’t help my teammates. That’s a league thing. That’s not just me. That’s something you don’t want a reputation for.”
Saying, “I have no choice but to work for the Sacramento Kings,” may not be the best way to defuse talk that you’re unhappy and want a trade. Gay is technically right, though: Sacramento could hold onto him and force him to play out the final season of his contract with the organization. It just seems more likely that they would want to get something in return for him, especially if he’s unhappy behind the scenes.
The team has been desperately trying to change their culture and create more of a positive atmosphere, most recently by bringing in new head coach Dave Joerger as well as veteran leaders such as Arron Afflalo, Garrett Temple, Matt Barnes and Anthony Tolliver this past offseason.
Earlier this week, Basketball Insiders’ Michael Scotto reported that the Miami Heat have had discussions with the Kings regarding a possible Gay trade. In the discussed deal, Miami would send Goran Dragic to Sacramento in exchange for Gay and Darren Collison. Scotto reported that the Kings are hoping to land a starting-caliber point guard in return for Gay.
For what it’s worth, Coach Joerger also tried to downplay the rumors surrounding Gay.
“He’s a wonderful human being who’s grown as a player and a leader,” Joerger said. “He likes it here. We all want to win a little bit more. There’s going to be rumors [with] guys in the last year of contracts, guys 6’8 who can do the things he does [on the court].”
Last season, Gay averaged 17.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three-point range. The year before, Gay averaged a career-high 21.1 points per game.
The Kings went 33-49 last year and the team has missed the playoffs in 10 straight seasons.
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