Rudy Gay might be the subject of scorn and derision on the Internet, but Kings fans welcomed him to Sacramento with open arms and a standing ovation on Monday.
Late in the fourth quarter of Sacramento's exciting 112-97 home win against Dallas, Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy walked down a Sleep Train Arena aisle and past the Kings' bench. As the three players moved through the crowd, dressed in matching Kings sweatsuits and hats, they received applause from the fans and from Kings players, including star center DeMarcus Cousins. All three players shook hands with Cousins, and Gay saluted the home crowd as the trio walked off the court.
Sacramento acquired Gay, Gray and Acy in a seven-player deal that sent Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes to Toronto. The trade became official on Monday.
Grading the Rudy Gay trade
Of course, RaptorsRepublic.com reported that Gay received a similarly warm welcome when he was traded to Toronto by Memphis last January.
Last Friday night, the Raptors hosted the Los Angeles Clippers in a contest in which the UCONN product came off the bench. The moment he checked into the game he was met with a chorus of cheers and applause as fans stood up to officially welcome him to the Air Canada Centre.
How times have changed. A RaptorsRepublic.com panel unanimously lauded Toronto GM Masai Ujuiri's decision to trade Gay, and both the Toronto Sun and the Toronto Star praised the move.
"New [beginnings]," Gay tweeted Monday.
Gay, 27, is averaging 19.4 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting a career-low 38.8 percent on a career-high 18.6 attempts per game this season. He is on the books for $17.9 million, making him Sacramento's highest-paid player this season, and he holds a $19.3 million player option for the 2014-15 season.
The three newest Kings are expected to be available when Sacramento plays host to Utah on Wednesday.
Sacramento improved to 6-13 with the win over Dallas.