The Kings care so much about winning whatever modest amount they can in their first season in their new arena, owner Vivek Ranadivé reportedly refuses to trade Rudy Gay, even though Gay told the team he’ll opt out and leave next summer.
This might be the type of deal that change’s Sacramento’s mind.
The Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat have discussed a trade of Rudy Gay and Darren Collison for Goran Dragic, league sources told Basketball Insiders.
Important caveats: Even if this report is true, either team proposing the deal and immediately getting rejected would constitute discussing the trade. It’s also not clear either team is still deliberating on such a trade.
That’s said, let’s discuss the merits of such a swap.
The Heat would be selling low on Dragic, but they could gain a huge amount of salary-cap flexibility if they also get Chris Bosh‘s salary removed from their cap. While Dragic has three years and $54,327,525 remaining on his contract after this season, Gay has a $14,263,566 player option for next season, and Collison’s contract is expiring.
The risk: Gay opts in. He’ll probably command more on the open market next summer, but that’s not a lock. He’s likely far less motivated to bolt Miami than Sacramento.
And that’s the biggest factor this trade: Cap space goes further in Miami than Sacramento.
Dragic would upgrade the Kings at point guard guard in a way they’d be hard-pressed to duplicate in free agency. Dragic’s long-term deal also provides security for Sacramento.
Arguably, the Heat should angle for more, but it’s a point guard-saturated league. There aren’t many potential buyers. And again, Miami can turn that cap flexibility into something meaningful.
That could justify punting on the season, which this trade would largely do. With Collison suspended the first eight games of the season, the Heat would start in a hole, and Dragic is the best player in the deal. But Miami is unlikely to make the playoffs with him, so why not aim bigger later?
This would be Pat Riley’s chance to build through free agency without the Dwyane Wade–LeBron James friendship stealing the spotlight. Though Riley deserves plenty of credit for setting up the Heat’s big three, he’d be working from a far blanker slate this time with just Hassan Whiteside as a centerpiece.
The Kings should do this if the trade is available. It’d make sense for the Heat only if they have a positive read on 2017 free agents and Gay is willing to opt out.