Rudy Gay is the latest name on the NBA trade block—just don’t ask the Sacramento Kings about it.
It’s time for a he said-she said affair around the talented forward, who has one year left on his current contract and won’t see his name fade from the trade spotlight until the February 18 deadline passes. A report surfaced Thursday from Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops stating the Kings dangled Gay in an offer to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for forward Ryan Anderson.
The Kings, though, were quick to clarify the nature of any supposed talks when speaking with James Ham of CSNBayArea.com:
Sources have downplayed Gay’s availability, telling CSNCalifornia.com that describing him as “on the block” is an inaccurate depiction. The Kings, as all teams this time of year, are willing to listen on many fronts if they feel it makes the team better. But Gay is not actively being shopped.
Ham and the Kings weren’t the only one to address the rumor, either. Gay himself—thanks to the immediacy of this social-media generation—addressed the topic pretty much the same night.
“Just another day in the life,” Gay said when asked about the rumblings, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
Indeed. Gay’s going to continue to be one of the hottest commodities until the deadlines passes. He’s 29 and as of next season could function as a one-year rental or someone a rebuilding team could ink to a massive extension. He’s posting an 18.0/1.7/6.9 slash line while rounding out a triple-headed monster consisting of Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins. It’s a core that has the Kings in 10th place in the Western Conference at 16-23 and hoping continued chemistry building will vault the team into the postseason.
Which is one of the reasons it’s hard to take trade chatter in a serious manner right now. The Kings want to win now that the drama around Cousins and head coach George Karl appears concluded. Even better, Cousins continues to play as the best big man in the league while emotional outbursts becomes less and less frequent. The Kings seem to be growing in the right direction, so why the front office would shake things up right now would be hard to explain. Keep in mind, too, Gay helped recruit Rondo.
Anderson wouldn’t be a terrible get per se. He’s a stretch forward averaging 16.7 points and shooting 37 percent from deep, the idea being he can stretch the floor for a talented big man underneath the basket, much as he does now for budding superstar Anthony Davis. He could function in the same capacity by opening up the floor for Cousins.
But again, the timing doesn’t make a ton of sense. If the Kings want to upgrade it’s likely to come at shooting guard and not by giving away one of the key pieces to a playoff push. Besides, Anderson’s a free agent after the season. He might view the Kings as a suitable destination given how he’d fit with Cousins and even more so if the Kings can make a run in the playoffs. The outlook changes if the Kings tank near the deadline for some reason, but the team’s 4-3 over its last seven with a win against Oklahoma City, a double-overtime loss to Dallas and a loss while playing Golden State relatively close.
For now, don’t expect Gay to move. That won’t stop the rumblings, of course. He’s just living another day in the life.