Rudy Gay’s decision has major impact on Sacramento Kings’ off-season

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The postseason drought extended to eight years for the Sacramento Kings as they once again didn’t even come close to being a playoff contender in the Western Conference. While new management is in place and providing optimism for the future, turning the franchise into a relevant NBA team is still very much a work in progress.

Sac-town now enters the off-season with two major decisions regarding starters Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas. What ends up happening with those two players directly impacts the type of off-season the Kings will face this summer.

Sacramento Kings (28-54 last year)

2014-15 Projected Depth Chart:
C: DeMarcus Cousins/Reggie Evans
PF: Jason Thompson/Derrick Williams/Carl Landry/Chuck Hayes
SF: *Rudy Gay/Travis Outlaw/^Quincy Acy
SG: Ben McLemore/Jason Terry
PG: #Isaiah Thomas/Ray McCallum

NBA Free Agents:
*SF-Rudy Gay (PO)
^SF-Quincy Acy (TO)
#PG-Isaiah Thomas (RFA)
C-Aaron Gray (UFA)
SG-Jared Cunningham (UFA)

2014-15 Team Salary: Approximately $47.3 million

Team Needs:
1. Keep Gay?:
Rudy Gay holds a $19.3 million option on the final year of his contract so he has a pretty important decision that will determine the Kings’ gameplan this off-season. $19.3 million is A LOT of money to turn down especially when Gay won’t sniff anything near that per year in a new contract from another. Sac-town could try to offer Gay a long-term extension but that wouldn’t seem to make sense with the direction the franchise is heading.

If Gay opts out of his deal, the Kings will have the cap space to be aggressive in free agency; a luxury they won’t have if Gay picks up the final year of his contract. If I were Sacramento, I’d be secretly rooting for Gay to leave since that additional cap space would go a long way in free agency or trying to acquiring new faces via trade and might actually be addition by subtraction.

2. Point Guard:
Isaiah Thomas has been one of the biggest second round steals of recent NBA Draft but the Kings face a dilemma with him this summer. Thomas is a restricted free agent and certainly due for a major raise. If I’m Sacramento, I am not sure I’m going to pay Thomas big-time money and ride him as my long-term point guard though. Do you think Thomas is a playoff caliber starting point guard in the NBA?

Still, they cannot simply let him walk in the off-season without getting something in return. A best case scenario would be Thomas agreeing to a reasonable extension that won’t cause the Kings to break the bank. If Sac-town does let him walk though, they need to find a new point guard since Ray McCallum is the only other floor general on the roster. Whether Thomas stays or leave, somebody like Marcus Smart would make sense when the Kings are picking with the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft especially he would add the size and physicality that Thomas lacks.

3. Figure out their frontcourt:
DeMarcus Cousins is the Kings’ horse down low. This isn’t news to anyone. However, Sacramento needs to figure out who his frontcourt mate is going to be moving into the future. The team acquired Timberwolves castoff Derrick Williams during the season but he once again failed to find his niche. Jason Thompson simply isn’t a strong enough option while veterans Marcus Landry, Reggie Evans, and Chuck Hayes are nothing more than role players.

Ideally, Sacramento would be wise to package a couple of the aforementioned names in a trade, possibly with Jason Terry’s expiring contract, to acquire a stable starter alongside Boogie. If they are unable to do that, the Kings might look at trying to snag either Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle of Kentucky, or Arizona’s Aaron Gordon with the eighth pick; if either of those guys end up falling to them.

 

OTHER NBA OFF-SEASON TEAM NEEDS PAGES:

BOSTON CELTICS

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

UTAH JAZZ

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Milwaukee to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag), and finished with the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft (nearly a three-peat.) You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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