Report: Kings willing to trade Rudy Gay, but there are conditions

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The Sacramento Kings are DeMarcus Cousin’s team, and the question for GM Vlade Divac becomes who are the best players to put around him to thrive? (Well, that and what’s the best system, and is George Karl the guy to execute that vision).

Rudy Gay may not be one of those guys.

Gay trade rumors have swirled around Gay for a while, and Marc Stein of ESPN confirms those, but says it’s not that simple.

Sacramento is said to be seeking a quality young player in return if it parts with Gay. Or a player they like with at least one year left on his contract after this season, which would give the Kings some insulation against trading for someone in February who turns around and leaves town in July. (Gay, 29, is scheduled to earn $13.3 million from the Kings next season before he’s forced to decide on a $14.3 million player option in 2017-18)….

Sacramento, for example, rejected New Orleans’ recent offer of Eric Gordon and Alonzo Gee for Gay before Gordon suffered a fractured finger that will keep him out until after the deadline. They don’t want to move him just for the sake of it.

That’s not shopping a guy, that’s being a prudent GM. If you can get younger and keep the talent level high, then you seriously consider a deal, if not you move along. That should be the case for everyone on the Kings’ roster not nicknamed Boogie.

(And no, Cousins is not available via trade — owner Vivek Ranadive still loves him, and you don’t trade your most popular, biggest draw player the season before you move into a new arena. So you can stop trying to dreaming up packages, Celtics fans.)

The Kings are in a fight for the last playoff spot in the West with Utah and Portland and the owner wants to make the postseason after a nine-year drought — they are not going to make trades that have them stepping backwards.

Come Feb. 19, the day after the trade deadline, Gay is probably still pulling on a purple jersey for Sacramento. The rumors about him are not going to stop, but there is a clear evaluation system for those now — the Kings’ aren’t just going to take on junk to dump him. That was never the plan.