Rudy Gay has been uncharacteristically vocal about his unhappiness as a member of the Sacramento Kings, and today’s report by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski is his latest attempt to pressure the organization to move him before the season starts.
According to Wojnarowski, Gay has informed the Kings that he will opt out of his contract next summer and become an unrestricted free agent. I cannot immediately recall a player informing an organization of their intentions regarding a player option a full offseason early, particularly with this much publicity, that it’s nearly impossible to view this as anything other than a public reminder that he wants out. Trade me now, or lose me for nothing, basically.
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.
I find this neither surprising, nor important. If Vlade Divac hasn’t surrendered to Rudy Gay’s wishes yet, I don’t necessarily think the revelation that he’s going to opt out next summer will suddenly change Divac’s mind. The Kings will trade Gay if they receive an offer that they like, and they won’t if they don’t. Woj’s new report probably doesn’t change that.
Wojnarowski really buried the lede in this article, anyway, because what Woj reports on Vivek Ranadive’s involvement in the Kings’ personnel decisions is far more damning than Gay’s decision to opt out.
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.
Ranadive takes an active role in the Kings’ player personnel decisions – along with general manager Vlade Divac and assistant GM Ken Catanella.
None of this should make you feel good, if true.
I fundamentally disagree with Ranadive’s view that Gay is a ‘vital’ talent for the Sacramento Kings, but beyond that, his apparent involvement in the Kings personnel decisions is a massive problem.
If Ranadive is willing to gamble on losing an asset like Gay for nothing because he can “change Gay’s mind” I shudder to think what the Kings’ strategy might be when they have to make a similar decision on DeMarcus Cousins.
Gay’s trade value is low. If it wasn’t, he’d probably be gone already, so while I would hate to ‘lose’ Gay for nothing, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. If the Kings take a similar gamble with Cousins’ free agency, and lose him for nothing, that would be catastrophic.
It should be noted that the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones has also confirmed Woj’s report, at least in regards to Rudy’s side.
Checked in with Gay. Doesn't see decision to opt out as a big deal, ready for camp and will wait to see what happens from here.— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) September 19, 2016