Could Rudy Gay be a Possible Trade Target For the Charlotte Hornets?

Mar 20, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) defends the shot by Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) during the second quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) defends the shot by Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) during the second quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

Multiple reports have been adamant that the Sacramento Kings are likely to trade Rudy Gay this season. The Charlotte Hornets should be looking to acquire the small forward.

Several media outlets have made it clear that the Sacramento Kings and small forward, Rudy Gay, are set to part way as he is on the trading block heading into the 2016-2017 season. The Charlotte Hornets may have enough pieces to grab Gay before another team swoops in with an offer. They should definitely be looking to acquire the athletic wing player.

Now many have differing opinions of Rudy Gay as some believe that he is a talented player in a bad situation and others think that he is a guy who makes teams worse. Maybe it is a combination of both or maybe it is neither as each of those scenarios are warranted with his current situation. Regardless, he could be a valuable player to a team like the Hornets.

The 29-year old is coming off of a season with Sacramento where he averaged 17.2 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 1.7 assists per game, and 1.4 steals per game. He also shot 46.3% from the field, 34.4% from the three-point line, and 78% from the free throw line last year. Rudy appeared in 70 games and averaged 34 minutes per game.

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Some claim that he had a down season but anytime a team can acquire a player that averaged over 15 points per game, it can be a game changer. A lot of critics label Gay as a shot chucker with empty stats but by shooting over 45% from this past season, he was a pretty efficient player for a bad team. At this stage in his career, he may no longer be a starter in this league but rather a sixth man off of the bench.

The Hornets have a need for a back-up wing player for their second unit as they lost Troy Daniels and Courtney Lee this summer. They also lost scoring off of their bench as Al Jefferson and Jeremy Lin left in free agency. Rudy Gay could easily replace the scoring production as a sixth man and back-up wing to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nicolas Batum.

Charlotte may be in the market to take a chance on a player this offseason as they have always come out on the better end of most trades. The team may be close to complete but Gay could help them take another step towards competing in the Eastern Conference. There have also been rumblings that the Hornets are looking to deal Spencer Hawes and possibly Jeremy Lamb this season.

This trade would allow the Charlotte Hornets to maintain their current starting line-up of Kemba Walker, Nic Batum, MKG, Marvin Williams, and Cody Zeller without losing any important players from the bench. It would also boost their bench as they would get rid of Hawes’ contract and also move Lamb who disappeared under head coach, Steve Clifford, at the end of last season.

Losing a first round pick could steer some away from the trade but Charlotte’s history in the draft isn’t great. Plus, if they were to make the deal, their first round pick would likely be in the high 20’s as they would be a high seed in the playoffs. They traded their 2016 First Round pick for Marco Belinelli, so losing their pick in 2017 for Rudy Gay wouldn’t be a big blow.

The second unit would include Ramon Sessions, Marco Belinelli, Gay, Frank Kaminsky, and Roy Hibbert. The moves that the team made this offseason allow for Jeremy Lamb and Spencer Hawes to be expendable. This trade would allow for both of them to be traded for a quality player like Rudy.

Gay’s current deal runs through 2017 as he is set to make $13.3 million this season and he has a player option for next season worth $14.2 million. Those numbers may seem high but those could be considered a steal in today’s NBA market. An athletic wing like Rudy who can not only score in bunches but also defend and rebound at times makes for an important piece for the team.

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Currently, the Charlotte Hornets do not have a proven sixth man on their roster and making a move for Rudy Gay could boost them into the top-tier of Eastern Conference teams. This would boost the bench while not loosing key pieces to the team. It would be up to coach Clifford to make all of the pieces fit together but this trade could lift them into Championship contention.