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.
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.