The Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors announced on Monday that they had completed a trade centering around Rudy Gay. There is no doubt that the Kings will attempt to make it work with Gay, however, there is also some speculation that he may opt to join the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent
This weekend, in a move that is universally recognized as a salary dump, Toronto agreed to send Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray to Sacramento, in return for Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes. The reason why so many players had to be involved is quite simple: Gay’s massive salary (he is making nearly $18 million this season) demanded it.
The Raptors’ end of this deal is obvious, they wanted to shed payroll. Gay was a last-ditch effort by Bryan Colangelo to right his ship, and the move flopped. Salmons will be waived soon enough, and neither Vasquez nor Patterson will be on the roster come the 2014-15 season. For Toronto it’s all about the future.
The Kings’ end of this deal is a bit more uncertain. On one hand, they now have a legitimate star to put beside Demarcus Cousins. On the other hand, the reason why Cousins has been so successful this year, at least in part, is because of his high usage rate. Gay’s addition ensures a sizeable reduction.
So where do the Lakers fit into this picture? Well, at one point it seemed like Gay would opt out and become a free agent. He would then presumably get a bunch of max level offers, and choose the one that suited him best. Seeing as the Lakers will have space for one max salary next year, and taking into account the fact that they definitely wouldn’t get LeBron James, Gay made some amount of sense.
However, seeing as Gay’s production has fallen off a cliff, there is a very good chance that he’ll just play out his deal with Sacramento and then see what happens from there.
The odds of L.A. bringing in Gay were always far greater than anyone really admitted. But given the way things look now, chances are they’ll either make a play for Carmelo Anthony or wait for Kevin Love.