Nov 11, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless (4) in the first half at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Article continues below ...
NBA Trade Rumors: As the rumors begin to heat up, we explore the three best possible landing spots for Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay has made it pretty clear that he wouldn’t mind moving on from this chaotic organization called the Sacramento Kings.
The No. 1 thing that Gay wants in a team right now is stability, and that is something Sacramento strongly lacks. Gay has mentioned how unclear he is about the direction of the Kings and his future.
When you just look at the what this franchise does, it makes a lot of sense why Rudy Gay wants out.
For instance, this was a franchise that made a highly-questionable move just a few months ago, when they decided to draft big man Georgios Papagiannis when they already had three centers on the roster. It makes no sense.
Not only that, but the Kings are constantly find their name in trade rumors – fair or not – and it seems like they make at least one coaching move a year.
Considering all this, and more, you can’t really blame Rudy Gay for wanting to be in a better situation.
This season, Gay is averaging 20.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.6. assists per game. His trade market right now is the highest its ever been. Couple that with the fact that Gay has already informed the organization of his desire to opt out of his contract and enter free agency after the season, and it’s pretty evident that it’s a matter of when, not if, Gay gets traded.
With that in mind, here are three likely trade destinations for Gay.
Mar 27, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the first half of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans have a future superstar and a player who has the ability to surpass LeBron James as the NBA’s best player in a couple years, Anthony Davis. However, when you look at the rest of the Pelicans roster, it’s just a bunch of no name to average players at best.
Every night we watch Davis carry the load on both ends of the floor while stuffing the stat sheet with more than impressive numbers, yet the struggle to win games is still an issue. And a big part of that is because Pelicans GM Dell Demps has done a terrible job with surrounding his prized-possession with talent.
This summer, $86 million netted the Pelicans Solomon Hill and E’Twaun Moore in free agency. Yea…
Those are the kind of dumb decisions that make New Orleans such an irrelevant team. Not saying that Hill and Moore aren’t good players, but they’re not going to make any team significantly better as No. 2 or 3 guys.
That’s where Rudy Gay could come in. Gay could be that sidekick that Anthony Davis has needed this season. Averaging 21 points and six rebounds per game, Gay could help alleviate some of the scoring woes that have plagued the Pelicans this season.
Also, the type of offense that head coach Alvin Gentry likes to run would benefit Rudy’s game perfectly. As of now the Pelicans GM needs to make a move in order to save his job. The Pelicans have some assets. There’s room for a move to be made here.
If Demps is interested in saving his job, Rudy Gay might be the answer.
Nov 19, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) reacts after making a three point shot during the third quarter at Verizon Center. Miami Heat defeated Washington Wizards 114-111. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Miami still hasn’t been able to replace Dwyane Wade’s contributions since he departed for Chicago in free agency. Miami still has a pretty decent (and young) team constructed right now and an ownership that is well known on getting good players in free agency.
Right now, the offense is currently running through Hassan Whiteside. If Miami traded for Gay, he would be an excellent complement to Whiteside and would quench their desperate need for scoring – the Heat are ranked 27th in the NBA in Offensive Rating.
Both teams here could use an upgrade to the roster and Miami definitely needs to make a move if they want to make a run in the playoffs (if that’s indeed what they want to do); well right now, they should just be trying to make the playoffs.
And with the addition of Gay, Miami could certainly do that. The Heat could send Sacramento a trade package that is centered around Goran Dragic. At the same time, the Heat would be clearing cap space for the summer, something that Pat Riley has been rumored to want to do.
If the Gay project doesn’t work, no harm or foul. He’s likely opting out of his contract at the end of the season anyways.
Sacramento has been rumored to want a point guard, and established one. Perhaps they want to give this DeMarcus Cousins project one more fair shake. Trading for a proven veteran like Dragic could give them that chance.
Nov 18, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) reacts to a play against the LA Clippers during the second half at Golden 1 Center. The Clippers defeated the Kings 121-115. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder
When you watch the Thunder, it’s basically the Russell Westbrook show and not much else. They need a scorer wing that can contemplate Westbrook on the offensive end of the ball so he doesn’t find himself chucking 40 shots a night.
As currently constructed, there’s no question that OKC can – and probably will – make the playoffs. However, they won’t get past the second round, if that. Adding another shooter and wing depth could help raise their ceiling for this season.
If OKC brought in Gay, Victor Oldaipo could be the spark off the bench and Andre Roberson could go back to focusing on defense and lock down shooting guards on the perimeter.
The Thunder is shooting 33.2 percent from three-point range this season. That’s good for 22nd in the NBA. For comparison, Gay is shooting 40 percent from downtown this season. In theory, Gay could be both the outside shooting and wing depth that OKC is craving.
The extra kicker to this deal would be Gay’s veteran experience to the Thunder, who have a relatively young team with an average age of 25.1. The Thunder could simply center a package around guard Cameron Payne.
Oklahoma has youth and assets to strike a deal with the Kings. If Oklahoma City made this move and acquired Rudy Gay, they could make some noise in the playoffs for sure. However, the question that remains is what pieces what Oklahoma City be willing to give up?