Dan Feldman

Rudy Gay
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Report: Rudy Gay tells Kings he’ll opt out, likely leave next summer


Rudy Gay got so fed up with the Kings, he said publicly they were handling trade rumors the wrong way. Gay and general manager Vlade Divac cleared the air, but Gay gave an ominous impression: “At this point in my career I just want to be happy. I talked to Vlade and we’re trying to make that happen.”

Now, Gay is apparently being more blunt about how to make that happen:

Declining his $14,263,566 2017-18 player option and getting the heck out of Sacramento.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Forward Rudy Gay has informed Sacramento Kings management that he plans to use his 2017 player option to become an unrestricted free agent and considers himself unlikely to negotiate a new deal to return to the franchise, league sources told The Vertical.

So far, Sacramento has shown no inclination to move Gay without a substantial package in return, league sources told The Vertical. Several teams have engaged the Kings in trade talks, but teams say those conversations have yet to find traction. Some teams have been unclear with what exactly Sacramento wants in return, and others say the asking price is too unreasonable.

Nevertheless, Sacramento hasn’t ruled out trading Gay, but the team wants to compete for the playoffs, and team officials believe there are few, if any, deals available that could offer them short-term value on Gay, sources said.

The Kings have been mired in dysfunction for years, and it’s no surprise Gay wants out. He hasn’t even spent three full seasons in Sacramento, and he’s on his fourth coach. The team hasn’t won in that span, but it sure has bickered. Gay has also had his offensive role reduced, which makes it harder to put up with all the nonsense.

There are suitors for him, but he won’t fetch a huge return. Teams might like him as a rental at age 30, but he has the same use in Sacramento, where the Kings – muffled laughter – are intent on making the playoffs. Plus, Sacramento has lackluster options behind him at small forward: Omri Casspi and Matt Barnes.

If the Kings are willing to trade Gay for future assets, a deal becomes more workable. But, again, the gap between Gay’s ability and actual production is wide enough to limit the return.

He might just have to suck it up and play out the season in Sacramento, but freedom isn’t far.

Report: J.R. Smith won’t attend LeBron James-organized workouts Cavaliers, no contract progress

J.R. Smith
AP Photo/Tony Dejak

LeBron James organized workouts for the Cavaliers in Los Angeles.

But J.R. Smith – who is a free agent, not a contracted Cav – will skip them.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

J.R. Smith will not attend the Cleveland Cavaliers minicamp this week in California as he and the team remain at an impasse in contract talks, sources told ESPN.com.

No recent progress has been made in the talks, sources said.

I’m glad Smith is actually looking out for himself, even if he’s talking more about the Cavaliers’ best interests. These workouts are probably too risky for someone without a contract. If the 31-year-old Smith gets hurt, Cleveland is not obligated to pay him.

Plus, why should the Cavs get the benefit of improved chemistry while not paying Smith? The delayed team-building is part of his leverage.

At some point, they’ll likely reach a deal. But Smith doesn’t owe them any favors in the interim.

Report: NBA consensus expected Bucks to trade Greg Monroe because they sought so little

AP Photo/Morry Gash
Leave a comment

The Bucks reportedly tried and tried to trade Greg Monroe this offseason – a telling that might understate Milwaukee’s desire to move the center.

Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times:

Multiple NBA sources told me the Bucks accelerated their attempts to trade Monroe this summer — even though from a purely statistical standpoint he had a quality season, averaging 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds.

The consensus among many NBA front office officials was that Monroe wouldn’t be with the Bucks when they report to training camp later this month — even if they couldn’t get fair market value for the big man.

Monroe remains with the Bucks, and this point, it seems less likely they move him. Training camp is right around the corner.

It’s telling that nobody would meet Milwaukee’s low demands – especially because four teams offered Monroe the max just last summer, according to his agent, David Falk. But Monroe didn’t fit with the Bucks, and his value plummeted in line with the team. Monroe was unfairly scapegoated, as losing Jared Dudley, Zaza Pachulia Ersan Ilyasova caused more harm than realized.

But with Monroe owed $17,145,838 this season and holding a $17,884,176 player option next season, teams will be reluctant to take a chance on him.

Monroe is a skilled interior scorer and good rebounder. His lack of mobility and shooting range just makes him a tough fit in the modern NBA, but I believe smart teams could play to his strengths. Maybe a young Milwaukee team will grow enough to better complement him and hide his weaknesses.

The Bucks are probably stuck with Monroe at this point, but even a slightly better performance early in the season could reinvigorate the trade market – or make Milwaukee appreciate Monroe more.

Spurs 2010 second-rounder Ryan Richards joins mix in San Antonio

Cecilio Santibanez
AP Photo/Eric Gay
1 Comment

The Spurs built an international farm system by drafting or trading for the rights of players who remained overseas.

San Antonio is hoping to yield dividends this year.

The Spurs have signed Livio Jean-Charles (No. 28 pick in 2013) and Davis Bertans (No. 42 pick in 2011).

Now, they’re adding Ryan Richards (No. 49 pick in 2010).

Richards is on a one-year, unguaranteed minimum deal, according to Basketball Insiders. It seems he took the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum, teams must offer to retain rights to their second-round picks. Whether San Antonio wanted Richards to accept the tender is another question.

He’ll compete with Ryan Arcidiacono, Patricio Garino, Bryn Forbes and Nicolas Laprovittola for the Spurs’ final regular-season roster spot. Despite a fully guaranteed salary, Bertans might also need to work his way onto the team in the preseason.

Whichever of those players San Antonio waives will become NBA free agents. Hence, the Spurs might have preferred Richards stay overseas, where they could have retained his exclusive rights among NBA teams.

But for Richards, this is a decent opportunity to make an NBA team. The Spurs don’t have an apparent lock for that 15th spot. Even if they waive him, he’ll gain NBA free agency and the ability to sign with any team.

Richards is a 7-foot 25-year-old big man with a solid shooting touch and jarring lack of rim protection. A British native, he has bounced around lesser leagues, most recently playing in Beirut.

Former Hawks owners sue insurance company over Danny Ferry buyout

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
AP Photo/David Tulis

The Hawks reached a buyout with Danny Ferry last year following his season-long leave of absence for racist comments about Luol Deng.

Why did those former Hawks owners pay off the general manager?

1. It cleared the way to sell the team (with one former owner reportedly earning more because of Ferry’s comments).

2. They thought someone else would pay.

Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The Atlanta Hawks Basketball and Entertainment LLC, the former ownership group of the NBA franchise, has filed a lawsuit against New Hampshire Insurance Company for breach of contract involving the settlement of claims made by former general manager Danny Ferry.

AHBE claims it was insured under a policy for coverage for certain losses related to employment practices, including, but not limited to, certain acts of “Wrongful Termination”’ and “Workplace Torts.” According to court documents, AHBE gave notice to AIG on April 2, 2015 that claims had been asserted by Ferry that it believed were covered.

According to the lawsuit: “Despite an obligation to pay and the acknowledgement that certain of Mr. Ferry’s claims triggered the AIG Policy, as well as the fact that these claims clearly fell within the policy coverage, AIG has failed and refused to pay the covered loss without significant justification and in bad faith. AIG had no reasonable basis to contend that a claim had not been made and that such claim was not covered.”

This lawsuit does not include current Hawks owner Tony Ressler. So, it probably won’t affect the franchise.

But it could expose more details of the Ferry saga beyond an absurd investigation that found no evidence Ferry was motivated by racial bias in his comments on Deng.

Ferry said, “He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.” Ferry was not reading verbatim a scouting report. He never stopped to correct him or apologize for slipping over the line. Those words became his own.

To say Ferry wasn’t motivated by racial bias when using a player’s African heritage as a reason not to pay him relies on a harmfully narrow definition of racial bias.

Discovery probably isn’t the place to resolve that greater issue, but it can reveal details the Hawks and Ferry might not want known – which is why this likely ends with a settlement.