What do the recent reports that Sacramento Kings’ forward Rudy Gay has informed team management that he plans to use his 2017 player option to enter the free agency market tell me?
First, let’s go back to December 14, 2014 and the early ousting of then head coach Michael Malone shortly after Rudy Gay re-upped his contract.
Signing the contract early in the season was all the evidence Kings fans needed that Gay was happy moving forward in Sacramento under coach Malone. It was also a promising sign that the perception of the Kings’ franchise throughout the league may have been shifting.
So, it’s understandable that Gay was upset to see one of the main reasons he wanted to remain with the Kings given his walking papers less than a month later after a 11-13 start to the 2014-15 season.
Let me clarify one thing before I continue. The firing of Malone and the coaching carousel that proceeded, with Ty Corbin taking over the reigns only to be replaced after the All-Star break by George Karl, has anything to do with now general manager Vlade Divac.
Gay’s issues with the franchise that likely occurred as a result of all that chaos has absolutely nothing to do with Vlade and his front office.
However, the alleged lack of communication between Gay and his camp in an offseason filled with trade rumors surrounding him is a gripe I can absolutely sympathize with as a player. But the reality is, that’s part of the business.
So where does that leave us now?
The answer: Gay wants to opt out which means one of two things: either trade him and get what you can for him or lose him and get nothing.
With training camp less than a week a way, I find it highly unlikely that a move is made prior to the start of training camp or even the beginning of the regular season.
There is no question in my mind one will be made by the February trade deadline.
The Kings haven’t gotten an offer they feel meets Gay’s value as of now but if they want to avoid getting absolutely nothing for him they’ll quickly adjust their expectations.
The writing’s on the wall, folks. Gay’s tenure as a King is coming to an end one way or another.