NBA Rumors: Latest on Possible Rudy Gay Trade, J.R. Smith and More

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2016

Rudy Gay is the biggest name on the trade and rumor market right now.
Rudy Gay is the biggest name on the trade and rumor market right now.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The NBA rumors market doesn't die with Kevin Durant settling into a new home. 

It does quite the opposite, in fact. With the biggest fish out of the pool, others have started to create a domino effect on the market. Now that players, agents and teams can see where the league stands, it's easy to alter lists and get to putting ink to paper.

Funnily enough, it's quite the relaxed period considering a guy by the name of LeBron James is still a free agent.

In all seriousness, though, that should speak to the intrigue level of the market right now. Here's a look at the latest.


The Future of J.R. Smith...

J.R. Smith hasn't made a decision yet.
J.R. Smith hasn't made a decision yet.Ron Schwane/Associated Press

J.R. Smith is one of those dominoes teetering on the edge of a fall but has yet to receive the gust of wind necessary.

James re-upping his deal is probably the necessary gust, so it shouldn't come as a surprise Chris Haynes of noted the expectations surrounding the 30-year-old guard.

"J.R. Smith, another client of [agent Rich] Paul, is also still out on the market, but he is also expected to re-sign with the club," Haynes wrote.

Smith averaged 12.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists during the season, averages that went to 10.6/2.7/1.6 with 35.6 percent shooting from deep against the Golden State Warriors in the Finals.

Clearly a veteran any team would love to have should it view itself a contender, Smith might have the ability to demand more money than usual after helping lift the Cavaliers to a title.

It's an interesting scenario to keep a finger on because a suddenly guard-needy team like, say, the Miami Heat, could come calling and test the loyalty Smith seems to have to a team he's spent all of one full season with.

Smith probably waits on James. But free agency moves fast, and James isn't much helping the situation—or so it seems.


...and LeBron James

James has the Cavaliers slightly twisting in the wind.

Many might not realize it because the note got lost in the hoopla of Durant hitting the market, but James did opt out of his contract. Expected, but he's without a team nonetheless.

Haynes revealed James has yet to notify the Cavaliers when he will re-sign with the team and provided some insight on the team's efforts: "Team officials have reached out to the camp of James for an answer to no avail, sources say. However, there are some officials within the organization who don't view the situation as a concern."

So it's not a concern, yet the organization can't get an answer.

Not that the Cavaliers need another one. James made it quite clear after the title win he wants to return and defend the crown, and his agent has apparently told those curious to look elsewhere, according to ESPN's Marc Stein:

Last year was another banner year for James, even before the epic come-from-behind victory in the Finals thanks to his line of 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game in the regular season.

Now a defending champion with the Cavaliers, on paper it doesn't look like James could go anywhere else to better combat the new-look Warriors. Durant's touch down there doesn't change the outlook of his future, even if he has yet to tell the organization anything official.


Kings Hosting a Sale?

After posting all of 33 wins last season and needing to improve in big strides not only to compete in the Western Conference but also to keep DeMarcus Cousins happy, it's not a surprise to hear the Sacramento Kings might host a sale. 

Sacramento has plenty of assets to offer, starting with forward Rudy Gay, who never really fit with the team last year, one featuring Rajon Rondo at the point and George Karl at head coach.

According to Stein, Gay headlines the list of players the Kings have available:

Kosta Koufos going to the market makes sense with Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein on board. Koufos averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last year, and at 7'0", he would look like a nice get for a team needing size.

Ben McLemore finds himself on the expendable list thanks to veteran Arron Afflalo and rookie Malachi Richardson. Still just 23 years old, he's a worthwhile investment for a team liking his average of 7.8 points on 42.9 percent shooting last year.

Gay is the focus here, though, with Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee adding some recent perspective:

Not hard to see why. Gay never fit well and only averaged 17.2 points and 6.5 boards per game last year—his lowest point total since his 42-game stint with Memphis in 2012-13, and before that, his rookie season.

Still 29 years old, teams in need won't mind coughing up assets to acquire the do-it-all forward. The Kings seemed to prepare for getting value back on his departure, too, inking veteran Matt Barnes to a deal.

Letting go of a player like Gay isn't the most attractive-looking move in the world. But it fits the current trend of the organization's rebuild. And if Gay doesn't want to be there, good on the Kings for getting value for his departure and not hurting the team off the court.

The question becomes which team makes the Kings an offer exciting enough to pull the trigger.


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