6:23pm: Along with Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy are also headed to the Kings, Wojnarowski tweets.
6:16pm: Rudy Gay has been pulled out of the lineup for tonight’s game and is headed to the Kings, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Sacramento will send John Salmons, Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, and Chuck Hayes north of the border (Twitter link).
The Kings plan on using Gay as a stretch-four and see Gay and the recently-acquired Derrick Williams as being capable of guarding either forward position, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports tweets. With Williams and Gay, the Kings are buying low on two notable names that have depreciated in the eyes of many evaluators.
Gay, 27, boasts career averages of 18.0 PPG and 5.9 RPG, but newer metrics such as PER have shown that his efficiency leaves much to be desired. It’s not just fans and front office execs that have taken notice, either. After a November game in which the small forward took 37 shots and scored 29 points, LeBron James remarked that he would put up 60 points “easy” if he attempted such a gaudy number of shots.
While the Kings gain at athletic wing in Gay, the Raptors free up a good amount of money for 2015 and gain a couple of interesting pieces along the way as well. As for the financial part of things, the only guaranteed 2015 money that came back in the deal is Hayes’ $5.9MM contract. Beyond that, they can clear $14.5MM by declining options/qualifying offers for Vasquez, Salmons, and Patterson.
Last month, it was reported that GM Masai Ujiri was exploring trade options for Gay and others with Jonas Valanciunas, 2011′s fifth overall pick, the only real untouchable of the bunch. Gay was the team’s most obvious chip since he’s still capable of being a top scorer for a team and could be a rental since he has a player option for 2014/15 that he could turn down in favor of a longer deal. With a $17.89MM salary, however, finding a home for Gay hasn’t been easy. Gay’s player option for 2014/15 is worth $19.2MM.
Vasquez, 27 in January, took a major step forward with the Pelicans last season when he put up career best averages of 13.9 PPG and 9 APG. Today’s news means that Vasquez has now worn three different jerseys in this calendar year – the guard came to Sacramento in July as a part of the three-way Tyreke Evans deal. While Vasquez has fans in the Kings front office, they clearly felt that this was a trade they had to make to get a dominant wing. It also has the added benefit of clearing up the Kings’ backcourt logjam.
Patterson, 24, is also in his third career trade with today’s deal. The power forward has had an up-and-down career through Houston and Sacramento and hasn’t been off to a blazing start this season. Patterson is putting up just 6.9 PPG and 5.8 RPG while shooting 41% from the floor.
Salmons, 33, has been seeing almost 25 minutes per contest with the Kings this season but is putting up some of his weakest per 36 minutes averages of his career. Only $1MM of Salmons’ $7MM salary in 2014/15 is guaranteed and it’s a safe bet that he’ll be let go. Acy, 23, hasn’t seen much burn this season, playing 8.7 minutes per contest across seven games.
More than three-quarters of Hoops Rumors readers said that they expected Gay to be traded before the deadline. It certainly helped that Ujiri and Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro have a history after working together in Denver. By trading Andrea Bargnani and Gay, Ujiri has cleared ~$20MM off of the books next season.