Once again, Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro has rolled the dice on another low risk, high reward transaction. Credit to D’Alessandro, who wasn’t just providing bloggers and
message boards commentary fodder when he said he would be actively looking to shake up a roster mostly assembled by former Kings General Manager Geoff Petrie. As I’ve said before, anyone not named Demarcus Cousins or Ben McLemore (although I’d add Isaiah Thomas to that group as you won’t find equal value for him unless he’s somehow packaged in a deal for an all-star) are tradable. The Kings essentially turned three reserves and a fringe starter into their best Small Forward since Ron Artest.
Rudy Gay is a dynamic offensive player, and is a huge talent upgrade at the wing. Gay is very long and athletic, and has the potential to be a very good defender under Michael Malone. He can get to the rim, hit the mid-range jumper, and has an underrated post-up game. Gay also rebounds the ball very well from the Small Forward position.
The knock on Gay, and rightfully so, is that’s he’s not exactly an efficient offensive player. Despite averaging 19 points per game, Gay is doing it while shooting a career-low 38% from the field. Gay is also taking a career-high 18.6 shots per game, however you have to factor in that he’s essentially been the number one option on a pretty terrible Raptors team. His FGA’s will most likely decrease in an offense that features Demarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, and Ben McLemore.
Gay is due to earn $17.8 million this season, and can exercise his player option for $19.3 million next season or opt for free agency. Should Gay play well in Sacramento, It’s not too far fetched to think he’ll opt out of his deal and look to secure one more long-term contract before his career is up. Should he continue to struggle, as he has early on this season, I find it hard to believe he’d leave $19.3 million on the table.
The Kings also acquired Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray in this deal. Acy is a hard-nosed power forward, who is undersized at 6’7. Gray is a seven footer that can rebound and has a huge frame, but isn’t very mobile. I’d expect him to get some minutes as a reserve Center.
Another key aspect of this deal not to be overlooked; Isaiah Thomas is now clearly the team’s starting Point Guard. While I personally have liked him coming off the bench, Thomas at times has been the Kings best player and will now have every opportunity to prove he’s the Point Guard of the future.
All in all, I love this deal for the Kings. D’Alessandro is wasting no time in moving spare parts, while simultaneously upgrading the talent on the Kings roster without sacrificing any long-term salary cap space.