Lakers Rumors: Time Is Now for LA to Make Move on Tyreke Evans

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2013

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives on Tyreke Evans #13 of the Sacramento Kings at Power Balance Pavilion on November 21, 2012 in Sacramento, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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I don't need to tell you the present state of the Los Angeles Lakers. Unless you've been living under a rock since Halloween, you're duly apprised of the team's well-documented (and excessively bantered about) struggles.

The knee-jerk reaction to disappointment of this nature is trade rumors. And with the Lakers, those have been plentiful. Pau Gasol has been linked to just about every team that's wanting for a big man, and even newly acquired Dwight Howard has seen his name bandied about in print.

But shedding one of their All-Star big men (especially for the reciprocal pittance of Brook Lopez or Andrea Bargnani) won't right the Lakers' ship. If they truly want a return to prominence, Los Angeles should set their sights squarely on a commodity they've long been linked to—Sacramento's Tyreke Evans.

The Kings are just about the only team whose season has been more melodramatic than the Lakers'. Those off-court histrionics hit a new nadir on Wednesday when conflicting reports surfaced about the team being sold to a Seattle-based group. They don't even know where they'll be playing in a couple of years.

In the midst of that turmoil, former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans has been shopped around the league. Per Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee, "the Kings should be – and they definitely are – willing to listen" to offers for Evans, before going on to say, "The Lakers...have long been intrigued."

I don't want to misrepresent myself by proposing unrealistic trade scenarios. I'm not, nor do I claim to be, a Picasso of the NBA trade machine. I'm not sure exactly what it would take for the Lakers to get Evans, and I'm even less sure of what's fiscally doable.

But I do know he's a much better option than Brook Lopez or Andrea Bargnani.

It's borderline insane how weak the Lakers are on the wing. They've got Kobe Bryant, a legitimate superstar; Metta World Peace, an aging black hole; and then they've got a group of guys who couldn't crack the rotation in Charlotte.

Darius Morris started against the Rockets Tuesday night, and Jodie Meeks played 32 minutes. If last night's box score could talk, it would scream "get Kobe some help."

Evans has taken his share of lumps since a brilliant rookie year, but even in his struggles, his skill set is perfectly tailored to the Lakers' needs: He's capable of getting to the rim, he's capable of (and willing to) finding the open man and, most importantly, he's capable of playing shutdown defense.

The Lakers allow 101.5 points per game, an abundance of which comes from opposing wing players. Just last night, James Harden posted 31 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Four games prior, Evan Turner was good for 22, 13 and five.

Sub in Tyreke Evans for Jodie Meeks, and I promise that would be a different story.

Again, I don't know exactly what it would take for the Lakers to get Tyreke Evans. But from what I can discern, it doesn't sound like the Kings are asking for the world in return.

What's the harm in picking up the phone and making a casual inquiry?