Rudy Gay opting out of Kings contract despite injury

AP Photo/Steve Yeater

Rudy Gay wants to escape “basketball hell,” and a torn Achilles – after a little uncertainty – won’t stop him.

Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

Veteran forward Rudy Gay plans to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Sacramento Kings to become a free agent, his agent Roger Montgomery confirmed to The Undefeated on Monday.

Gay was slated to earn $14,263,566 next season. He might not get that much in free agency, given the January injury that could sideline him a year. But the 30-year-old could seek a long-term contract from a team looking to lock him into a potentially reduced rate. Or he could sign a shorter deal and rehab his value. Or he could get a mega long-term deal. Gay is a talented scorer, and he’ll draw suitors – especially if he’s willing to be a stretch four.

The Kings might not know it, but this could be good for them, too. Gay no longer fits a team that should rebuild without DeMarcus Cousins. Sacramento has only one more year to tank before sending its unprotected 2019 first-rounder to the 76ers. A young core of Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, Malachi Richardson, Georgios Papagiannis, Bogdan Bogdanovic, the Kings’ own first-rounder and a Pelicans’ first-rounder probably isn’t quite enough to mold into a legitimate winner. I’d want that high 2018 first-rounder too – which should be achievable considering how much development the players in place still need.

The path to another high pick gets even easier without Gay, and that should offset the short-term loss in production.