Heavy trade speculation and activity continues to litter the NBA offseason. The Sacramento Kings are reportedly trying to honor swingman Rudy Gay’s trade request while the Milwaukee Bucks are also keen on moving center Greg Monroe, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.
The report stresses that Monroe and Gay are the two best veterans currently linked to trade speculation, but doesn’t state that Sacramento and Milwaukee are in active negotiations together.
The 29-year-old Gay, who began his career in Memphis but then spent two seasons in Toronto before arriving in Sacramento in 2013, requested a trade earlier this month, The Sacramento Bee reported. He’s averaged 20.2 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 46.5 percent from the floor with the Kings, but the beleaguered franchise hasn’t made the postseason in 10 years and Gay evidently no longer wants to be part of the ceaseless rebuilding process.
Gay’s request does come at an unfortunate time for the Kings as he serves as their top wing player with only veteran role players Matt Barnes and Omri Casspi behind him at the small forward spot. Sacramento possesses a massive glut of big men after selecting seven-footers Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis in the NBA Draft last month, picks that befuddled the Kings best player, All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins.
While practicing with Team USA ahead of next month’s Summer Olympics in Rio earlier this week, Cousins told reporters he was confused by the Kings’ choice of Papagiannis but that he’s staying out of the front office's decisions.
“I do my job,” Cousins said. “I can’t control [the draft]. I control what I can control.
“I really don’t understand it but I do my job.”
Moving Gay, even though he’s Sacramento’s No. 2 scorer and a versatile defender, would still bring back assets that the Kings need in order to perhaps make up for their curious draft picks and get the rebuild moving in the right direction.
With $13.3 million heading his way next season and a $14.2 million player option for the 2017-18 season that he’s likely to pass up, Gay’s contract is relatively salary cap friendly and he could be viewed as a solid scorer on an expiring deal. Gay could opt-out and test the very player friendly free agent market, with even mid-level players garnering millions more due to the cap’s rise this season and next summer.
Meanwhile, the Bucks are ready to move on from Monroe after signing him just last summer to a three-year, $51.4 million deal. The 26-year-old put up 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds while shooting 52.2 percent from the field over 79 games (67 starts), but Milwaukee went 33-49 last season and missed the playoffs while ranking No. 27 in the league in rebounding.
Monroe’s scheduled to be Milwaukee’s highest-paid player next season at $17.1 million, but the Bucks could ship him to a squad in need of size and gain back picks and or veterans to fill out a roster that will be the youngest in the NBA next season.
The addition of No. 10 overall pick and big man Thon Maker also creates a logjam in the frontcourt for Milwaukee, and trading Monroe will offer Maker and Miles Plumlee much more playing time.