Rudy Gay and his camp have informed the Kings that the veteran forward plans to decline his player option for 2017/18 next summer, and is unlikely to re-sign in Sacramento, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. As Wojnarowski observes, Gay’s declaration that he expects to leave the Kings in 2017 may make the franchise more motivated to trade him.
Of course, the fact that Gay is strongly leaning toward departing Sacramento next year doesn’t come as a real surprise. The comments he made during a July interview with Sactown Royalty didn’t sound like they came from a player who was committed to his team for the long term. “At this point in my career, I think I want some kind of consistency and we don’t have that here, at all,” Gay said at the time.
Nonetheless, the Kings have thus far not shown any inclination to trade Gay without a “substantial package” in return, league sources tell Wojnarowski. According to the Yahoo! Sports scribe, Sacramento has talked to several teams about Gay, but those discussions haven’t found any traction. While some clubs are unclear about exactly what the Kings are looking for in a deal, others have balked at Sacramento’s asking price, per Wojnarowski.
With the Kings intending to compete for a playoff spot this year, trading Gay for future picks or assets is not ideal, since they’d offer no short-term value. According to Wojnarowski, owner Vivek Ranadive is also reluctant to part with Gay, viewing him as a key piece of this year’s roster — Ranadive has reportedly told associates that he thinks he can persuade the 30-year-old to remain with the Kings beyond 2017. However, that seems like a long shot, given Gay’s lack of faith in team ownership’s ability to create a winning environment.
The Rockets have been among the teams linked to Gay over the last few months, so if Sacramento gets serious about moving the UConn product, Houston could be a team to watch. Considering Gay is likely to explore the free agent market in 2017 though, teams poised to have significant cap room next summer may prefer to try to land him at that point, rather than giving up pieces in a trade.