The Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat have discussed a trade of Rudy Gay and Darren Collison for Goran Dragic, league sources told Basketball Insiders.
“Sacramento has to trade Gay,” an Eastern Conference executive told Basketball Insiders. “He’s already informed them he doesn’t like it there. They can’t let him walk for nothing.”
Gay can become an unrestricted free agent after this season since he has a $14,263,566 player option for next season. With that in mind, sources indicated that the Kings are ideally looking for a starting-caliber point guard in any trade proposal involving Gay.
At this time, Sacramento and Miami are kicking the tires on the potential trade. The trade, as it has been discussed, has various benefits for both teams should it ultimately happen.
Dragic would fulfill Sacramento’s desire for a starting point guard. Including this season, Dragic has three guaranteed years remaining on his deal for a total of $51 million. He also has a $19.2 million player option for the 2019-20 season when he will be 33 years old.
Collison, who is suspended for the first eight games of this season due to a domestic violence misdemeanor, would provide depth to a crowded Miami backcourt that features Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson and newcomers Dion Waiters and Wayne Ellington. At 29 years old, he is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Gay would help replace the scoring void left by forward Chris Bosh. Gay is owed $13.3 million this season with a $14.3 million player option for the following season. At 30 years old, and with the salary cap rising again this summer, Gay should surpass that $14.3 million option salary on the open market. Even if he was dealt to Miami and liked the organization, he would still be expected to opt out of the deal for those economic reasons.
By potentially shedding Dragic’s $17 million salary for next season, along with Bosh’s $25.3 million salary, Miami would clear a total of $42.3 million in cap space and have room to sign multiple free agents to max contracts this offseason.
Pat Riley has a proven track record of landing elite talent on the free agent market with salary cap space and South Beach at his disposal.
In the summer of 2017, marquee names such as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Lowry, Paul Millsap, Serge Ibaka, Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose are all expected to hit the market.
While Curry and Durant are expected to remain with the Golden State Warriors, could this finally be the year the Clippers’ trio of Paul, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan is broken up?
The Boston Celtics will make a strong run at Gordon Hayward this summer due to his connection with former Butler coach Brad Stevens.
Boston has also been enamored with DeMarcus Cousins for a long time on the trade market. While Sacramento is intent on keeping him for now, the clock is ticking toward the summer of 2018 when Cousins will become an unrestricted free agent. With Sacramento’s playoff prospects bleak entering the season, another lousy start could propel the Kings to seriously consider moving him. Cousins’ trade value declines each day as his free agency draws closer.
Should Cousins become available this season, Boston has several trade chips to offer including Brooklyn’s unprotected 2018 first-round pick, young assets in Jaylen Brown, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, etc. and $17 million in expiring contracts for Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko.
However, at this time, the immediate focus in Sacramento is finding Gay a new home.
Should Miami hold onto Dragic and revisit these talks closer to the trade deadline, Sacramento can also offer a first-round pick or a young frontcourt piece. Sacramento has a glut of young frontcourt pieces in Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufos, Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis.
After giving up a protected 2017 first-round pick and an unprotected 2021 first-round pick to land Dragic from Phoenix, Miami would likely want more than a possible one-year rental in Gay and a backup point guard in Collison in return for the veteran point guard.
The biggest issue for Sacramento is the organization doesn’t have much leverage when it comes to trading Gay. He’s leaving and everyone knows it. The question is when?
“Sacramento can’t move Gay fast enough,” another Eastern Conference executive told Basketball Insiders.
The clock continues to tick for Sacramento.
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