Rudy Gay plans to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Sacramento Kings and become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Gay, who’s currently recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, is unlikely to return to the Kings and could be eyeing to join a playoff team next season.
Last summer, Rudy Gay expressed his disappointment with how the Kings constructed their roster. Instead of building around DeMarcus Cousins, they drafted two players who have the same position as “Boogie.” When they traded Cousins before the February deadline, it’s crystal clear that the Kings are eyeing to rebuild the team.
Even before the 2016-17 NBA season started, Gay already revealed his plan to exercise his player option and leave the Kings. Giving him a new contract would not be a practical move for the Kings, especially if they intended to undergo a full-scale rebuild. Here are the three potential destinations of Rudy Gay in the upcoming free agency:
Oklahoma City Thunder
The outcome of the NBA Playoffs 2017 proved that the Oklahoma City Thunder need to upgrade their roster in order to become a legitimate title contender next season. Russell Westbrook, alone, can’t carry the Thunder to the NBA Finals as long as the Golden State Warriors’ “Super Death Lineup” exists.
Since Kevin Durant left OKC for the Warriors, Rudy Gay’s name emerged as his potential replacement. When healthy, Gay proved to be a prolific scorer. In 30 games he played this season, he averaged 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds on 45.5 percent shooting from the field and 37.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Los Angeles Clippers
After an early exit in the NBA Playoffs 2017, the Los Angeles Clippers realized that their “Big Three” isn’t enough to win their first Larry O’Brien Trophy. However, the Clippers plan to keep their core intact and upgrade their roster this summer. The Clippers need to improve their wing in which Rudy Gay will be a great fit.
Gay originally plays as a small forward but can also move at 4 if coach Doc Rivers wants to play small ball. The idea of playing alongside Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan may convince Gay to choose Los Angeles in free agency.
Last August, Barry Jackson of Miami Herald revealed that the Miami Heat very much appealed to Rudy Gay. However, during that time, the Heat don’t see it practical to trade for Gay since they can get him in free agency. If they successfully remove Chris Bosh’s salary from the book, they will use the money to lure big names this summer.
Gay will be a great addition in Miami playing alongside Hassan Whiteside in the frontcourt. He’s a proven threat on the perimeter. However, it remains questionable if Gay will be the Heat’s main target this summer.
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