As the Sacramento Kings wrap up another season, GM Vlade Divac and head coach Dave Joerger held end-of-season media availability on Thursday. The were no major bombshells, but they confirmed that the Kings would like Rudy Gay to opt in to the final year of his contract. Joerger also said he’d like to see Ben McLemore back on the team.
Regarding Rudy Gay, via Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee:
“His personality, when we talk about who’s going to fit on this team, he’s exactly what we’re looking for,” Divac said.
Rudy Gay has a player option for the final year of his contract, and if Rudy opts in he’d earn $14.26 million next season. Rudy Gay will need to decide in the coming weeks what his future will hold, and it will be driven by his progress with his rehabilitation from a torn achilles. Rudy has been showing good progress, but hasn’t committed one way or the other about whether he’d opt in or decide to test free agency.
Rudy Gay said he's not sure about opting out of his deal, will take it "one day at a time."— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) April 12, 2017
Rudy would be likely to opt in if he suffered any sort of setback in his rehab, or if his agents felt there wasn’t a strong market for a multi-year deal. But if Rudy’s agents are confident such a deal exists, and if Rudy continues progressing well in rehab, I expect Rudy Gay will opt out.
As for Ben McLemore, I think Joerger is saying the right things. You don’t say that you wouldn’t want Ben back. But Vlade Divac will need to look long and hard at the team’s available roster spots before committing to McLemore.
As it stands right now the Kings would have Garrett Temple, Buddy Hield, Malachi Richardson, and possibly Bogdan Bogdanovic at the shooting guard position. That’s a logjam even before adding in McLemore. And the Kings don’t have a surplus of open roster spots. The 4 shooting guard, plus two first round rookie picks, Garrett Temple, Skal Labissiere, Georgios Papagiannis, Kosta Koufos, and Langston Galloway puts the roster at 11. If Rudy opts in that’s 12. Assuming the Kings bring back one of the point guards or sign a veteran point guard in free agency the roster is already at 13. The Kings will also have a second rounder, but might be able to maintain an extra roster spot by utilizing the new two-way contracts allowed under the new CBA.
If McLemore was more versatile, maybe it would make sense to keep him around. But I just don’t see how you can justify spending a roster spot on a player who would be your 4th or 5th option at shooting guard.
Of course, all of this could be rendered moot by other offseason moves or draft decisions. The first domino will fall soon. Rudy Gay’s decision is due by Monday, April 17th.