The Houston Rockets should trade for Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay, because it’d be perfect for both sides.
The Sacramento Kings want to trade Rudy Gay. It’s not because they don’t like talented small forward, it’s because he’ll be gone after the season, according to a report from The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Unfortunately for the Kings, DeMarcus Cousins‘ contract has a player option that will make him a free agent in 2018 if he declines to pick it up. Most expect him to decline the option.
While showing a certain reluctance to trade Cousins, Sacramento will instead try to turn the Kings into a winning ball club before Cousins gets the chance to leave. To do that, their best option is trading Gay.
According to Wojnarowski, Gay was almost on his way to Oklahoma City. This is a trade that would have resulted in the Kings acquiring center Enes Kanter, more than likely. The Kings, who are losing games because of poor defense and already have one big man who can put up elite numbers inside, should be glad they didn’t make the trade.
The Kings don’t need more big men; they need players who won’t make so many mistakes and help the offense run more smoothly.
“That’s been something that’s been preached to us a lot,” Cousins said. “If there’s one thing that drives Joerger crazy, it’s turnovers. He’s pretty cool about most mistakes, but turnovers, you get another guy. So it’s something that has been preached to us and I think we are a lot more aware of our turnovers.” – DeMarcus Cousins via SacTown Royalty
“The (mistakes) that are self-inflicted are the worst ones,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger. “What I told them (Friday) is we’re not a young, young team. We should know better. Veterans or guys that are mid-veterans, we should make some smarter plays.” – Dave Joerger via The Sacramento Bee
In watching the Houston Rockets, Joerger should see two type of players that will make his offense run smoothly while greatly helping the defense.
Ariza and Brewer are both versatile, low-usage players who are above-average defenders. Ariza is the better three-point shooter, while Brewer excels in transition. Nonetheless, Ariza is always running the break to finish and Brewer is always available to spot up and shoot a three. Ariza can be used as a small-ball power forward. Brewer defends both wing positions.
McLemore has taken strides forward this season under Joerger. He already has four double-digit scoring games (out of eight games) one the season after having only 21 games scoring in double-digits last year.
This is, in part, due to his role in an offense that consistently runs sets. Running sets will put players in positions where they can work around them cerebrally because they know where they’ll be next and what their options are with ball in their hand. In his first three seasons, McLeMore struggled with shot selection and playmaking when he tried to read and react to Gay and Cousins, two players that go rogue within an offense consistently.
Both Gay and Cousins are known for this kind of offense. They’ll often pass up a chance to move the ball in an attempt to score in isolation. When they did pass, Sacramento’s spacing would be in disarray, leading to plenty of contested shots from McLeMore and unsuccessful forays to the rim.
Gay, who scored on 47.5 percent of his post-ups last year, can have his post-scoring void filled by Affalo, who scored on 54.4 percent of his post-ups last year. This will give Afflalo a slight uptick in scoring as he becomes a bigger focal point offensively.
This unit can be led by Cousins as a small-ball center, McLeMore as he increased his playmaking or whichever point guard ends up being the team’s backup. Both Lawson and Collison have the ability to lead an offense as a scorer and facilitator.
It’s an all-around in for the Kings who will replace Gay with two players that increase their efficiency, decrease their turnovers and improve their ability to attack in the fast break.
If it doesn’t work out, Ariza, Brewer and Cousins all become free agents in the same season. The Kings could rebuild that summer. Brook Lopez, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are some star-studded free agents of the 2018 class.
The Houston Rockets’ reason for accepting this trade is simple. When Patrick Beverley returns, the Rockets will have one of the best starting units in the entire league. Beverley will start alongside Gay, James Harden, Ryan Anderson and Clint Capela in what could be one of the most explosive offenses in league history.
There’s no one in this starting lineup that can’t be effective on the court. Harden and Gay excel shooting from all areas of the court and will be their two isolation players. Beverley and Anderson are both floor-spacers can attack off the dribble. Capela will be dangerous inside as he continues to develop his body.
On the bench, the Rockets will still have Eric Gordon, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell and Nene. Though they’ll miss Brewer’s play in transition, and length and activity on defense, K.J. McDaniels has earned the opportunity to get a bulk of the minutes that belonged to Brewer.
McDaniels isn’t a household name, but he’s a good playmaker in transition, can shoot the three and even attack off-the-dribble. Defensively, he’s athletic and though he doesn’t have the length of Brewer, he’s active on that end.
Harden, Gay and Anderson aren’t renowned defenders. However, the length of the team will allow them to be at least moderately effective. Beverley will impede the ball handler’s paths and hound them the length of the court. The springy Capela offers help in rim-protection. That’s a defensive recipe, that when combined with the lanky and active defenders, puts the Rockets in championship contention.
This is the type of trade that will get both teams a step closer to where they want to be. The Sacramento Kings will become a methodical but efficient offense, and they’ll still be exciting to watch in transition. They’ll also be able to get out in transition a lot more by being a two-way ball club.
The Houston Rockets become even better offensively and when Beverley returns, the team will definitely be better defensively. The Rockets already look dangerous. With the additions of Beverley and Gay to the starting lineup, they’ll be too hot to touch.
This is the type of trade that should happen as soon as possible.