Rudy Gay Trade Rumors: 5 Teams That Could Trade For the Kings Forward
The major waves of the 2016 NBA free agency period are over, which has the league turning its attention largely to the summer league and the final moves to shore up any missing links on rosters.
If teams aren’t settled there, they can start thinking about big trades that could fill holes or change the outlook of their team dramatically.
That has some big names hitting the trade rumor mill, with Russell Westbrook arguably taking the cake. One other name has been popping up for over a year now and could be on the move, however, and it sounds like it could be Sacramento Kings star forward, Rudy Gay.
The Kings are changing their roster in a big way after adding a bunch of extra big men and letting both Rajon Rondo and Seth Curry walk this off-season, and with Gay reportedly wanting out, the team may finally look to move him.
To clarify here: Rudy Gay has not officially asked for a trade, but he wants out. Kings know it. If he is still on roster in Sept., beware.
— Ailene Voisin (@ailene_voisin) July 9, 2016
Gay may be unhappy in Sac-town, but he still possesses top level scoring ability, solid defense and a very versatile skill-set. An argument can be made that Gay can still make a difference in the right spot, but who will trade for him? We take a look at five reasonable suitors on the trade market:
Indiana is one of few teams that seem to have actual ties to a Rudy Gay trade, as they could be interested in moving Monta Ellis and could then slide Paul George to shooting guard.
ESPN sources say Sacramento and Indiana have had recent trade discussions involving Kings F Rudy Gay potentially sending him to the Pacers
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 2, 2016
It’s debatable if that’d be an ideal fit, but it does look interesting on paper. Ellis is a poor defender and an ISO scorer, so he doesn’t fit what the Pacers are doing offensively and he hurts them on the other end. Gay is able to work within the confines of a system has a nice inside/outside game and has the size, length and athleticism to offer a defensive boost.
Given how aggressive the Pacers have been so far this summer (traded for both Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young) they very well could be the team to watch in regards to the budding Rudy Gay rumors.
Atlanta is another team making big moves to try to improve themselves, as they opened up room for Dennis Schroder to thrive with the Jeff Teague trade and may have upgraded over the departing Al Horford by nabbing hometown favorite, Dwight Howard.
Atlanta also held onto the improving Kent Bazemore, leaving their only blemish at the other wing spot with the aging and possibly regressing Kyle Korver.
It’s tough to gauge what a potential deal would include, but Rudy Gay starting at the three could allow Bazemore some more freedom at the two, where he can both score and defend at a high level. That could allow the Hawks to bring Korver off the bench, which may be best for him and the team at this point in his career.
To make that happen, the Hawks would have to give up a future pick and maybe even some cash, while guys like Mike Scott, Tim Hardaway Jr., Mike Muscala and even Kris Humphries could be moved to make a deal possible.
Boston recently brought on big man Al Horford to give themselves more continuity at center, and also give themselves a legit star to run their offense through. Since they lost out on Kevin Durant, they may now feel the pressure to get Horford (and Isaiah Thomas) a third scorer to balance things out.
Gay and Horford don’t make a superstar alone or between the two, but they do offer serious balance at both ends. That could be huge for a Celtics team that has already returned to the playoffs and is looking to make a deeper run.
A Rudy Gay trade would probably kill Jae Crowder’s role on the team and make him expendable, while the likes of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger could also be in the mix to be dealt if it can get Gay in Boston.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Having just lost Kevin Durant to the Warriors, OKC needs to quickly make up their mind if they’re going to go hard at beefing their team back up and retaining Russell Westbrook, or if they’re going to start rebuilding.
If they think Westbrook will stick around, making a trade for Gay could make a ton of sense. They already brought in Victor Oladipo and have some awesome young talent, so things are still looking good for them if they can patch up the loss of KD.
Gay is not a replacement for Durant on his own, but he’s a fine two-way player and would be a strong #2 option with Oladipo picking up the slack as the team’s third scorer. OKC would probably be willing to part ways with any of Cameron Payne, Dion Waiters or Mitch McGary to facilitate such a deal.
Miami is our fifth option for Rudy Gay, as they just lost Dwyane Wade but don’t strike us as a team super willing to lose during their rebuilding phase.
They already have two very strong young players with big roles in Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson, while Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and maybe even a healthy Chris Bosh make them a pretty tough out still.
Adding Rudy Gay to the starting five could make them a formidable club yet again, and with or without Bosh, he looks like an interesting fit. That could stunt the development of either Richardson or Winslow, but with Luol Deng and Joe Johnson both gone, there appears to be room for Gay to either start or have a monster role off the bench.
Miami wants to rebuild, but they also want to try to win right now after paying up for Dragic and Whiteside. With Gay in tow, they may have a shot at doing just that. It’d probably cost them money, future picks and perhaps either Richardson or Winslow to make the trade happen, however.
Rudy Gay Prediction
At the moment, the Pacers feel like the team to beat in the Rudy Gay sweepstakes. Not only could he help formulate a very impressive starting five, but he’d also rid Indy of Ellis, who is still a great scorer but not really the ideal starting shooting guard for a successful playoff team.
The Pacers have worked hard to solidify their entire starting five and also still have a decent bench. Getting Gay could sap that potentially, but if they ship out Ellis and a pick, that could seal the deal. The other four teams have reason to consider a Rudy Gay trade and could also pull the trigger, but Gay to Indiana for now makes the most sense.
Obviously Gay wouldn’t guarantee the Pacers a better playoff seed, much less a trip to the NBA Finals. However, he makes them a little bit better and more complete. That’s enough for a team that already returned to the playoffs last year and really isn’t that far away from a Toronto Raptors team they took to a seventh game in the first round last year.
Would the Gay trade be enough to push the Pacers up to the level of the Cleveland Cavaliers? It’s doubtful, but there’s no doubt they’d be better and would be a team to watch.
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