Sacramento Kings: Where To Go From Here Without Rudy Gay

The Achilles injury to Rudy Gay is bound to have ripple effects for both his future as well as the outlook for the Sacramento Kings for the rest of the season.

Currently tangled up in the mess that is the race for the eighth seed in the West, the Sacramento Kings are now at a crossroads in their regular season campaign.

With the news that Rudy Gay will miss the rest of the year after rupturing his left Achilles during their most recent loss to the Indiana Pacers, any glimmer of hope in the team’s quest to contend for the playoffs has been seriously jeopardized.

Losing Gay means the Kings will be without their second-best scorer, as he was averaging 18.7 points per game while posting a career-high true shooting percentage (55.9 percent) as well as hitting 37.2 percent of his three-point attempts.

On top of that, Gay was sporting a rare positive net rating for the Kings with plus-1.7 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com/stats.  In the time Gay was off the floor, the Kings crumbled, having been outscored 10 points per 100 possessions.

If all of this wasn’t enough, Gay’s injury only adds more complications to what was already a complex relationship between him and the team.

Well before the start of this season, it was no secret that Gay wanted out of Sacramento, especially after being part of many trade rumors for much of the offseason.

Obviously nothing wound up materializing on that front, but Gay himself established an expiration date by reportedly informing the Kings that he’ll opt out of his current deal this offseason.

Now Gay’s injury throws a wrench in his reported plans to enter free agency this summer and creates plenty of questions over the future of his playing career.  On the other side of the coin, the Kings suddenly find themselves in a similar boat for a whole host of reasons.

There’s the team’s aspirations this season, in which Gay would have been integral to help make their playoff push become a reality.

Of course, if things wound up turning the other direction, Gay was shaping up to be an interesting trade chip, one that could have been had by interested teams before the deadline.

The Kings will be without either of those options in their favor for the rest of the year and the threat of Gay exercising his $14.3 million player option would only create problems for their flexibility this summer.

That’s where the Kings stand as of now in the wake of Gay being lost for the remainder of the year and this is even before we see the immediate impact of his absence on the floor.

For what was an already uneasy situation to begin with, Gay’s injury just adds more obstacles as both he and the Kings face uphill battles in where they each go from here, respectively.

For Gay, there’s plenty at stake regarding the future of his career, considering the gravity of his injury as well as his age.

For the Kings, they’ll be hard pressed to find anyone, both currently on their roster and potentially on the trade market, of Gay’s caliber in order to stay within the realm of playoff contention.

For now, we can only wait and see how things unfold, but needless to say, it’s an unfortunate turn of events for both parties, one that sinks hopes for the season and creates a murky future.

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