Showing off some serious frustration with his situation on the Sacramento Kings, Rudy Gay is bound to draw some attention, and some rumors suggest the Houston Rockets are considering trying to make a trade for him.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders mentioned it, and it’s been rumored since the season ended that the Kings are making Gay available for anyone interested. Vlade Divac only responded to Gay by saying that he has his phone number, and he can always call him. Gay himself, in an interview to Sactown Royalty, expressed his displeasure with the inconsistency from the front office, and the lack of direction, or the kind of direction the franchise is heading to.
So, are the Rockets actually interested? Probably thinking about it. The Rockets are a team going in a new direction this season. Still James Harden, still Daryl Morey, but also Mike D’Antoni hired to run things from the sidelines, getting his first official head coaching gig since his unsuccessful stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, ending in 2014. He was pretty much a head coach with the Philadelphia 76ers last season, but he didn’t get the title out of respect for Brett Brown.
Gay will make $13.3 million next season, hoping to put himself in a position to make a lot more than his $14.2 million player option in 2017-2018. While being known for his volume shooting and not much else, he hasn’t been bad for the Kings at all. In almost three seasons with the team, he’s averaging 19.4 points and 6 rebounds per game while shooting 46.5% from the field and 34.2% from beyond the arc. His per minute numbers dropped a bit last season, but he also played more power forward, and had Rajon Rondo next to him, dropping his usage ratio from 27% to 22.4%, explaining some things.
His fit in Houston? Not that bad, at least in terms of playing. In a seven seconds or less offense, although I’m not sure it’ll be 100% fully implemented in Houston because Harden runs the court, Gay could be quite effective. He plays the ‘4’ role pretty well, and it can also give the Rockets an option of combining him and Trevor Ariza in lineups together, while also taking away from Ariza’s workload, which always seems to get to him at some point. However, Gay, who loves the ball in his hands and loves to shoot, might still be looking to be the #1 guy, or something of the sort, which isn’t going to work well next to Harden, not while Morey is running the team.
The Kings probably won’t ask for much in return for Gay – they prefer to have him off the books. However, the Rockets have a cap hit of around $99 million next season, which means they are $5 million over the salary cap, and would need to move a number of players in order to make the trade happens. Let’s say, Corey Brewer, K.J McDaniels and Montrezl Harrell. It works financially, but that forces the Kings to take contracts into the 2017-2018 they might not want. If the Rockets are eager to add Gay, they’ll have to find a third team to make this trade work.