Rudy Gay has a decision to make. He has until June 10 to make his decision on a $14.2 million option year for the 2017-18 season, NBC Sports California has learned.
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Losing Gay would magnify the Kings’ hole at small forward they never could adequately fill after Gay went down with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon Jan. 18. Divac and Joerger spoke highly of Gay’s character Thursday. “His personality, when we talk about who’s going to fit on this team, he’s exactly what we’re looking for,” Divac said. The Kings would have to prove to Gay that the team is what he’s looking for, too. The Kings are in the midst of a massive youth movement, the kind of situation veterans longing to return to the postseason tend to avoid.
Sean Cunningham: Should clarify: Joerger and Divac did not say they wanted Rudy Gay to ‘pick up option’ but both expressed desire to have him back with Kings
Gay informed the Kings before the start of the season he intended to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent. Gay said those plans could change due to the injury. He’s on course to be ready for next season but said he’ll decide what to do after an evaluation of his health and his agent’s assessment of the market. “I’m looking at where I feel most comfortable, where I can showcase my talents and win,” Gay said. “Wherever I think I can do that at, that’s the best place for me.”
When Gay was injured, he and DeMarcus Cousins were were the top players in Sacramento’s quest to end a 10-year playoff drought. Gay was lost after 40 games, and Cousins was traded to New Orleans at the All-Star break. Now the Kings’ front office is focused on the draft and the future. “It’s different, but I’ve been around the league for a long time,” Gay said. “Also I’ve been around trades, I’ve been traded, I understand how this league is.”
Jason Jones: Rudy Gay on what he’s looking for in a team: “I’m looking at where I feel most comfortable, where I can showcase my talents and win. Wherever I think i can do that at, that’s the best place for me. “
Multiple sources say that Gay, who tore his left Achilles tendon on Jan. 18, has remained with the team rather than being dealt away because Ranadive believes deeply that the small forward would not leave Sacramento; this despite Gay’s stated decision — before his current injury — to opt out of his contract next summer and his desire to be elsewhere as soon as possible, a sentiment expressed to the organization repeatedly.
Gay, 30, made it clear coming into the season that he intended to walk away from the final season of his Kings contract, valued at $14.3 million in 2017-18, to opt for free agency in July. That led to a widespread belief around the league that Gay would be one of the more accomplished players moved before the league’s Feb. 23 trade deadline.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Rudy Gay’s torn Achilles will seriously change trade deadline and free agency. He planned to opt-out of $14.2M for 17-18. Complex choice now
Barry Jackson: Heat not pursuing trade with Gay/Dragic at this time, but might pursue Gay in 2017 free agency as secondary option. – RT: Alex Kennedy: While trying to defuse trade rumors, Rudy Gay said, “I have no choice but to work for the Sacramento Kings.” Quotes like that don’t defuse!
What about Gay? “Rudy is a tremendous talent, he’s somebody that’s beautiful to watch the way he plays,” Divac said. “We think Rudy is a big part of this team to be successful, so we decide to go with him. If he decides to stay next year, that’s great. If he decides to leave, that’s fine. But we want to make sure we compete this year.”
Gay won’t be the most popular King when opening night rolls around. After quietly asking to be moved during the offseason, Gay made it clear last week that he will opt out of his contract next summer, although he did leave a small window to return to Sacramento. “Personally, I made the decision to opt out,” Gay said. “Whether I sign here, whether I play the rest of the season, whether I even start here, it’s really not up to me. But wherever I am, I’m going to play to the best of my ability and try and do what I can.”
Gay will opt out of his contract after this season and become an unrestricted free agent, fueling speculation the Kings will trade the forward to avoid losing him with no compensation. “I made the decision to opt out,” Gay said Monday during the team’s media day. “Whether I sign here, whether I’m here the rest of the season or whether I start here, it’s really not up to me. Wherever I am, I’m going play to the best of my ability.”
Gay said the dialogue between himself and general manager Vlade Divac has been good lately. “We’re talking, and everything is pretty much how it needs to be,” Gay said.
Forward Rudy Gay has told the Kings he will opt out of his contract after this season, meaning he probably will leave as an unrestricted free agent. In a text message, Gay said he will “play the waiting game” to see what happens next, but he said he is ready for this season. Telling the Kings he was opting out was a formality and not a surprise.
Gay was on the trading block this summer, according to multiple league sources. But his ability to opt out of his deal made it difficult for the Kings to acquire equal value in a trade. Opting out gives Gay, 30, the opportunity to join a playoff contender. It’s unlikely he would re-sign with the Kings, considering the instability that has plagued the franchise.
Forward Rudy Gay has informed Sacramento Kings management that he plans to use his 2017 player option to become an unrestricted free agent and considers himself unlikely to negotiate a new deal to return to the franchise, league sources told The Vertical. Gay’s pledge to the Kings’ ownership and front office that he’s strongly leaning against re-signing with Sacramento is a declaration that could increase pressure on the organization to trade Gay sooner rather than later.
So far, Sacramento has shown no inclination to move Gay without a substantial package in return, league sources told The Vertical. Several teams have engaged the Kings in trade talks, but teams say those conversations have yet to find traction. Some teams have been unclear with what exactly Sacramento wants in return, and others say the asking price is too unreasonable. Nevertheless, Sacramento hasn’t ruled out trading Gay, but the team wants to compete for the playoffs, and team officials believe there are few, if any, deals available that could offer them short-term value on Gay, sources said.
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive is determined to hold on to Gay, whom he considers a vital talent with All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins as the Kings move into a new arena this season. Ranadive has told associates that he believes he can change Gay’s mind this year and persuade him to stay, league sources said. Gay’s lack of faith in ownership’s ability to create a sustainable, winning environment has strongly influenced his decision-making process, league sources told The Vertical.
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April 23, 2017 | 3:37 pm EDT Update
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