10. Rudy Gay
As the 2013-14 season began for the Sacramento Kings, it was clear that something had to be done to improve the roster. The team had just finished their fifth consecutive season with 30 or fewer wins*. In that time, the team had seen four coaches come and go, and there are, but so many times, a team can replace the coach before acknowledging the roster strength, or lack thereof.
The team had just given an up-and-coming center named DeMarcus Cousins a four-year $62 million contract extension and had little other excitement on the roster outside of Isaiah Thomas, who would be entering his third year. The Kings had whiffed on the previous three drafts — though, at the time, Ben McLemore seemed to have a fair amount of potential — and were far from a free-agent destination, so if they wanted to supply Cousins and Thomas with some support, they were going to have to be creative.
Flash forward to Dec. 9, and the Kings would find their man, acquiring Gay from the Toronto Raptors, who was looking to save some cash and had quickly learned he was not a fit next to rising star DeMar DeRozan. This would be the second time in less than a year that a team had moved on from the former eighth-overall pick in a salary dump.
In exchange for Gay, the Kings sent Greivis Vasquez — who they acquired in an offseason deal for Tyreke Evans — John Salmons, Patrick Peterson, and Chuck Hayes. Sacramento would also receive Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy in the deal.
While the move for Gay clearly did not change the direction of the Kings’ franchise, next to Cousins and Thomas, Gay provided some exciting basketball for fans in his near-four seasons with the team, being dubbed “The Great Rudini” in the process.
Over four seasons and 223 games with the Sacramento Kings, Rudy Gay averaged 19.3 points and 6.0 rebounds, but the team failed to finish higher than 10th in the Western Conference during that time.
*The Kings finished on pace for 27 wins during the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season.