June 29, 2017
NBA Rumors: Kings' Rudy Gay To Join Russell Westbrook And OKC Thunder During Free Agency?

For months during the past basketball season, NBA rumors about the Sacramento Kings' Rudy Gay heading to a new destination were flying around the internet. The longtime NBA journeyman scorer has spent time playing with the Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies, and more recently, the Kings, a team that has been rebuilding its roster. Now it's appearing that the 30-year-old Kings star could have a highly-interested suitor looking to sign him. It's seeming likely that the free agent star could join up with 2017 NBA MVP winner Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, based on the Thunder's interest in Gay, and possibly Gay's interest in participating in the playoffs.

The latest reports regarding Rudy Gay and the Oklahoma City Thunder's interest in him were made via Bleacher Report per the Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. Reportedly, Gay will host various free-agent visits in Austin, Texas, this coming weekend as the NBA's free agency officially starts this Saturday, July 1. Gay had been rumored to be heading to all sorts of different teams in NBA trade rumors this past season. As Wojnarowski tweeted, the Oklahoma City Thunder remain as one of the strong suitors who see Gay as a good fit for their current roster.

Rudy Gay could provide OKC a second scorer and playmaker
Rudy Gay could provide OKC a second scorer and playmaker besides their NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook. [Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]

That makes plenty of sense as the Thunder really need to add someone to their roster with Russell Westbrook. Gay would provide additional scoring and open things up for Westbrook. A recent Hoops Hype report listed Gay as No. 22 on the listing of NBA free agent players available. This past season, Gay was Sacramento's second-best scorer, averaging 18.7 points per game to go with 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. His 1.5 steals also led the Kings for their 2016-17 NBA campaign. However, an injury sidelined him for the second half of the season.

The Kings have been in a clear rebuilding phase since last season when they traded away DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans for a batch of younger players. That included Buddy Hield. The Kings also had several high draft picks just a week ago and selected point guard De'Aaron Fox from Kentucky at No. 5, as well as Gonzaga big man Zach Collins at No. 10, to improve their roster. Gay has made it known he planned to pursue free agency for a while now. Most likely this is due to a lack of success as part of a Kings team that failed to qualify for the postseason while he and DeMarcus Cousins had been on the roster. Gay has spent 10 years in the league now, playing the past four seasons for a struggling Sacramento.

OKC and Russell Westbrook need more help against improved teams
OKC and Russell Westbrook will need more help against improved teams this season. [Image by J Pat Carter/Getty Images]

As for the Oklahoma City Thunder, adding a second scoring and playmaker option beyond Westbrook is essential. Since Gay is older, it's probable that he'd be less concerned about being the top option for the team. Gay shot 45.5 percent from the floor, including 37.2 percent from downtown. He also attempted just under 11 shots per game, which makes him a smart option to unite with Russell Westbrook, a guy known for putting up plenty of shots by himself to try to win games. The only concern may be Rudy Gay's health as he was out of action a good portion of last season due to an Achilles injury. Interested teams will be checking on that situation to make sure he's available to be part of training camp and to start the season.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will also face the possibility that Westbrook leaves after the 2017-18 NBA season if OKC doesn't make some moves this offseason. A first move that could convince him to stay would be adding some more help on the roster such as Rudy Gay. The team will have to work it out in the best interest of salaries, though. That's because an essential move for OKC will be to sign their top star, Westbrook, to a "supermax" contract extension valued at over $200 million. That would lock him up with the Thunder for several seasons to come, rather than allowing him to walk after this season as a free agent.

[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]