If the Kings weren’t considered to be a playoff contender at full strength, they certainly aren’t without Rudy Gay. After averaging 18.7 points on 45.5% shooting in 30 games, Gay tore his left Achilles’ tendon against the Pacers on Wednesday; a season-ending injury.
Gay has vowed on Twitter to come back “stronger than ever,” but the Kings will still face a myriad of issues in 2016/17. Now 11th place in the Western Conference, the Kings sit at 16-26 following a lopsided loss to the Grizzlies. What’s more, the Kings’ roster is full of veterans preventing rookies Malachi Richardson, Georgios Papagiannis, and Skal Labissiere from receiving court time. Willie Cauley-Stein recently voiced grievances on the lack of opportunity in his sophomore season.
“I feel I was showing stuff at the end of last season that would make people say, ‘Oh, damn, they got a steal in the draft,'” Cauley-Stein told Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee. “Now it’s like I took 25 steps forward and 30 steps back. It’s like my whole rookie season didn’t matter and I’m back at square one. Nothing I did last year is having an effect on my career. It’s been very frustrating.”
The team appears unlikely to trade DeMarcus Cousins, but they have several assets who could help another team’s playoff run. With a lack of direction for the 2016/17 season, several on-and-off the court controversies, and no clear path to minutes for younger players, we want to know…
Should the Kings trade off assets and start a complete rebuild? Is there any hope in salvaging the season to grab a No. 7 or 8 seed? Will Gay – who has a player option for the 2017/18 season – opt to remain in Sacramento, or is he a lock to test the market even after his injury?