Rudy Gay has informed the Sacramento Kings that he will opt out of the final year of his contract next summer and likely sign somewhere else, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. Gay's name has been in trade rumors for months, dating back to the middle of last season.

From 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.


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.

If you've been following this saga, then this isn't surprising. In July, Gay said he was aware of the rumors and he did not like the way management communicated with him. When Gay signed his four-year, $40 million extension with Sacramento in 2014, he was happy with the direction of the team under general manager Pete D'Alessandro and coach Michael Malone. Malone was fired a month later, and soon thereafter Vlade Divac usurped D'Alessandro. Last season, the Kings were a total disaster, as coach George Karl openly feuded with their franchise player. Gay has not appeared in a playoff game since 2012.

"It wasn't rocket science," Gay told The Undefeated's Marc Spears.

Rudy Gay with the Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay's future is up in the air. USATSI

Some thoughts:

  • As The Vertical noted, it's interesting that Gay doesn't even plan to use the Kings as leverage in free agency. That's how bad things are. Gay just wants out, and this puts pressure on Sacramento to get something done.
  • Moving Gay isn't the worst idea for the Kings. He's one of their most talented players, but he doesn't fit particularly well next to Cousins without great passers and shooters around them. He just turned 30, and given how far Sacramento is from contending for a title, it probably wouldn't be wise for the front office to give him a long-term deal next summer anyway.
  • This won't do anything positive for Gay's trade value, which is already depressed because of his contract status. Any team acquiring him between now and the trade deadline would have to be reasonably sure that it could reach a fair agreement with Gay on a new deal in the summer. Otherwise, the risk of him leaving in free agency is too high to move any players or picks that Sacramento would actually want.
  • Gay's player option for 2017-18 is $14.3 million. Look at the contracts that players signed this summer. Opting out is the only sensible option financially, regardless of how he feels about the Kings.
  • The Vertical reported that Sacramento wants to compete for the playoffs this coming season, and it is unlikely that Gay will bring back players that will help reach that goal. The Kings probably shouldn't be so focused on that -- the more realistic road to success would be trading Gay for pieces that can develop over the next few years.