When the Kings traded for Rudy Gay, they took a risk on his 2014-15 player option.
Specifically, the chanced they he might opt in.
Gay can make $19,317,326 in 2014-15 – far above what he could get on the open market.
The ideal option for Sacramento seemed to be Gay making the team more competitive last season and then opting out. If the Kings were pleased with him, they could try to re-sign him to a long-term rate at a more reasonable price. Sacramento would get the talent upgrade it sought, and Gay would get more financial security.
The first part of the plan didn’t really work. The Kings went just 22-41 after trading for Gay, though he played better than expected
Now, they’re actively trying to flub the second part.
Sacramento Kings officials are bringing two Hall of Famers to meet forward Rudy Gay early next week in hopes of convincing him to exercise the option in his contract for next season, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Hall of Famers Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond, a former Kings star, are expected to join Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, general manager Pete D’Alessandro and head coach Michael Malone when they meet with Gay.
During the meetings, the Kings also will have Gay wear a headset with eyewear that will give him a complete virtual digital tour of the inside of the new Kings arena, including the locker room and arena floor.
No offense to Mullin and Richmond, but the virtual tour sounds even cooler than meeting the former players. That’s some real futuristic stuff.
But I have no idea why the Kings are pulling out all the stops to hamstring themselves.
If Gay opts out, Sacramento would project to have $13,572,718 in cap space. If the Kings want to re-sign Gay to a longer deal, that would obviously eat into most of that flexibility, but they’d at least have options.
If Gay opts in, forget cap space. The luxury tax becomes a real concern. Sacramento could offer restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas a deal starting at up to just $9,735,549 without exceeding the projected tax line. That’s probably enough leeway, but it leaves very little room, other than using the No. 8 pick in the draft, to upgrade a roster that went 28-54 last season.
This all very absurd. It really amounts to a lot of work to convince a slightly above-average starter to take $19.3 million for one season.
Forget Mullin, Richmond and headsets. Show Gay the money.
If he needs any more convincing than that, he’s on his own.