Rudy Gay is the latest player to say he will test the waters of free agency and shop for a new team. However, Rudy has had a lot of trouble in the past on signing with new teams, seemingly making them worse upon his arrival.
Averaging 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds this past season are by no means bad stats, but Rudy only played 30 games for the Kings before injuring his Achilles, sidelining him for the rest of the year. It seems almost certain that Rudy will leave the Kings this summer as frustration with the Front Office may have finally reached a boiling point.
After the DeMarcus Cousins trade Kings fans were visually furious with the Front Office, and now with Rudy Gay having one foot out the door, it doesn't seem as though Sacramento's future is going to look any brighter. Next year the NBA's league salary cap will be rising once more meaning if you ever wanted to earn a lot of money playing basketball now is the time, Gay is no different and will be chasing a max contract from a team who will be willing to offer one.
These are the top 5 teams who can offer Rudy the money he wants.
With T.J Warren manning the small forward position Phoenix could be a great destination for Rudy. The only issue is that T.J is only 23 years old, and Derrick Jones J.R who plays both shooting Guard and small forward off the bench is also very young. Meaning Phoenix may want to keep developing these young guys. Rudy also has made it known that he would like to return to a playoff team, Gay is now 30 years old and an 11-year league veteran and Phoenix are still a long while out of the playoffs. Meaning Gay would be losing valuable time he could otherwise have at another team.
However, if he was willing to become a secondary or even third option at Phoenix he would not only receive a max contract but could become a veteran presence Phoenix are looking for to guide their young rookies like Devin Booker.
More or less the same situation. Brooklyn can offer Rudy a large sum of money however they are again very far out of the playoffs. This then becomes all about what Rudy values more, money or winning. Although a huge factor in swinging Rudy to Brooklyn is the home factor, with players these days loving to play from their home city or as close to home as they can Rudy might love to play for where he was born, Brooklyn New York. If he does choose to sign with the Nets he would definitely improve their already very poor team.
The trio of Lin, Gay and Lopez could even scrape up a fair amount of wins. Lin is coming off an injury ridden season, showed that when he plays he does, in fact, help Brooklyn to win. With three players in the starting lineup who can all put up at least 18 points a game Brooklyn's next few blurry seasons could become slightly more clear. Of course, Brooklyn does not own their draft picks this year or next, so Rudy would be entering the organization knowing they want to lean on him heavily to turn them around.
This deal all depends on Dwayne Wade and whether he resigns with the Bulls or not. Everyone at this point in time seems to be unsure of Wade's plans this offseason, claiming recently he doesn't need to chase rings anymore could give an indicator that he would like to return to the Bulls, but both he and Jimmy Butler expressed frustration with the Bulls Front Office through the season with their lack of support and help. Depending on how Gay feels about this, he could be leaving a team with a bad Front Office and joining another with the same problem.
Over the past 2 seasons, Rudy has been linked to Chicago numerous times, in fact, Rudy could have been traded twice on the deadline to Chicago. The Bulls have a big hole in their small forward position that Rudy could most definitely fill, although Jimmy played Small Forward this past season with Wade at the shooting guard, Jimmy has expressed in the past his desire to play at the point which could be a potential lineup for Chicago if Rudy was to join.
The Heat would be an ideal team for Rudy, they can pay him the money he wants and are a come up playoff team who were very unlucky not to make it this season. Although Chris Bosh is under contract with the Heat until the end of the 2018/19, Rudy would be able to fill the gap in the Miami roster that Chris has unfortunately not been able to due to blood clots.
What places the Heat above other teams on this list of where Rudy would like to play is the fact that since his Achilles injury 30 games into the season Rudy has been living in Florida quite comfortably and if his time there has been any indication of where he'd like to play, Miami would most definitely like to offer the contract to Mr. Rudy Gay.
The final destination that would be the ideal fit for Rudy is out West with James Harden. Trevor Ariza already plays the small forward position that Rudy would be taking over, but if Ariza would be open to taking a bench role, that would add to Houston's already incredible bench with Lou, Eric and Ryan Anderson. With his offensive skill set and James Harden running the point guard position and leading the league in assists you could expect a very high amount of points each game.
Houston's salary for the 2017/18 season is currently at $89,076, 625 which is relatively high already. If a deal can be made that allows Gay to receive the money he wants and still stay within the luxury tax we could potentially see a new rival for Golden State in the Western Conference.
Of course, we would also expect Rudy to be signing for a numerous amount of years for whichever team he so chooses, therefore whoever he signs for expect to be getting used to looking at him in that jersey. Unless of course, history repeats itself and we see Gay on the trading block once more...