The Sacramento Kings and forward Rudy Gay seem to have a tough relationship at this point. By many accounts, the Kings may want to trade Gay. By many accounts, Gay may want the Kings to trade him. But determining the proper value on a deal has been tough so far for Vlade Divac as he reshapes the organization and tries to help them break back through to the postseason. Sacramento has another new coach after the Dave Joerger hire this summer, and Joerger was an assistant coach for 5 1/2 seasons in Memphis during Gay's time there. So they have familiarity with each other.
However, that's not keeping Gay from reportedly eyeing other places. According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, the Kings forward would like to find his way to the Miami Heat if he can. Gay is signed for $13.3 million this season and has a player option for $14.2 million in 2017-18. The player option might be a potential roadblock for the Heat, even if they can find a deal to acquire him.
According to an associate, the Heat is among teams that very much appeal to Sacramento forward Rudy Gay, who has been available in trades. But Miami likely lacks the tradable assets to acquire him if it wanted to and his $14.2 million player option for 2017-18 is worrisome. Players signed this month in free agency cannot be traded until Dec. 15.
The player option doesn't seem like it should be a roadblock for a potential acquisition for Gay in Miami. The salary cap is booming once again in 2017, and while a new collective bargaining agreement could alter the landscape of how contracts are being given out, it seems unlikely Gay would forego a potential jump in pay by exercising his option. Gay will be 30 next summer and could definitely angle toward getting a more secure, long-term deal done at that time.
As for Miami acquiring Gay, that is definitely tricky because there aren't obvious contracts and matches for the Kings that make any sense. Chris Bosh, Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic aren't going anywhere in a deal for him. Josh McRoberts and his $5.7 million contract aren't enough to get the deal done. Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson can't be moved until December 15 after signing a new deal this summer, and the Heat aren't going to move Johnson anyway.
The only deal that makes sense just from a standpoint of matching the contracts is McRoberts, Udonis Haslem and Josh Richardson for Gay. I can't imagine a world in which Pat Riley moves Haslem in a trade (he'd likely want him to retire as a member of the Heat) or thinks about moving Richardson when he's on such an amazing, cost-effective deal. Maybe this isn't a match after all, but if Rudy doesn't opt in for that player option, he can try to find his way there in the summer of 2017 as a free agent.