Yahoo! Sports reported Sunday night that a seven-player deal is being finalized that would have the Toronto Raptors send Gay and the $37 million remaining on his contract to the Sacramento Kings.
The report said the Kings would also get deep reserves Aaron Gray ($2.69 million) and Quincy Acy ($790,000), both of whom have deals that expire after this season.
The Raptors reportedly get guards Greivis Vasquez and John Salmons and forwards Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes. Toronto will have to cut a player.
The Raptors acquired Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies in a huge three-team deal last January. But that deal was made by former GM Bryan Colangelo, who was replaced by Masai Ujiri in the offseason.
Ujiri has spent most of his brief tenure in Toronto cleaning up the team’s awful salary cap situation. He traded Andrea Bargnani and his unwieldy contract to the New York Knicks in the summer and now has unloaded Gay, who is the highest-paid current NBA player who has never made an All-Star team.
Vasquez ($2.15 million) and Patterson ($3.1 million) were members of the 2010 draft class who did not receive extensions and will be restricted free agents next summer. Salmons ($7.58 million) is in the final year of his deal. Hayes makes $5.72 million this season and $5.96 million next season.
Gay, 27, was second on the Raptors (6-12) in scoring at 19.4 points per game. However, he is shooting less than 39 percent from the field despite having offseason Lasik surgery. He makes $17.32 million this season and has a $19.32 million player option for next season that he will certainly exercise.
His arrival in Sacramento gives the Kings a potent but young starting lineup. Gay will start at small forward alongside center DeMarcus Cousins and power forward Jason Thompson. Point guard Isaiah Thomas, who leads all bench players in scoring this season, will be elevated to starter alongside rookie Ben McLemore.
The Kings (5-13) also have a new GM in Pete D’Alessandro, who already had made one in-season trade, sending Luc Mbah a Moute to Minnesota for Derrick Williams in a swap of forwards last month.
No one on Toronto’s roster will replace Gay’s scoring. Candidates for his starting spot include Landry Fields, Terrence Ross and Salmons.
Vasquez had been starting for the Kings but was being outplayed by Thomas. He likely will back up Kyle Lowry with the Raptors. Patterson and Hayes will provide depth for one of the worst benches in the NBA.