Best Potential Trade Destinations for Tyreke Evans: Lakers, Nuggets, Celtics

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02:  Tyreke Evans #13 of the Sacramento Kings shoots against Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 2, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 115-107.  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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

With talks swirling of new beginnings (or, perhaps more correctly, the past revisited) for the Sacramento Kings and their potential move up the Pacific Coast, there's another fresh start that's equally as important.

And one that could be coming to fruition much quicker.

With the Kings overloaded in the backcourt (in sheer quantity more than quality), fourth-year guard Tryeke Evans could be punching his ticket out of northern California before the franchise begins plans on its potential farewell tour.

His contract was not extended prior to the 2012-13 season, meaning the former one-and-done Memphis Tigers star has no guarantees beyond the season's final game. 

And with the franchise well on its way to extending a futility streak (at 13-22 there are 6.5 games separating the club from the eighth-seeded Portland Trailblazers), it's becoming increasingly evident that the predictable dismissal of head coach Keith Smart isn't the answer to the Kings' woes.

Although it may speak louder about the current state of the roster than Evans' own talents, the 23-year-old finds himself as the most likely trade candidate for a team in dire need of an overhaul. For as much grief as DeMarcus Cousins has brought to the organization, the Kings have shown no inclination of entertaining offers for the league's most talented headcase.

Evans can see the writing on the wall. He would be "neither shocked nor devastated" by his inclusion in a deal before the Feb. 21 trade deadline (according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee).

His trade value isn't exactly the easiest to define.

For starters, he possibly peaked in 2009-10 when he became just the fourth rookie in league history to finish the season with averages of at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

Since that remarkable season, his numbers have dipped across the board. In the 2012-13 season, they've spiraled to just 14.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

The decrease in assists is understandable, given that Evans has found his way back to his natural position as a shooting guard.

And his scoring decline stems largely from the fact that he's simply given ground in Sacramento's pecking order. He averaged 16.2 field-goal attempts as a rookie, but has managed just 11.9 in his fourth season.

But Sacramento's front office doesn't have to simply convince potential trade partners that Evans can rediscover his effectiveness, they have to convince clubs that he's healthy enough to even have the chance to do so. A bothersome left knee has kept him sidelined for 16 of the team's 35 games.

That hasn't stopped the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics from expressing interest, according to Voisin.

The Lakers are in desperate need of an upgrade in athleticism and defense on the wings. Even with Evans' struggles those are still two areas where he excels.

He could lessen the workload of Kobe Bryant (39.1 minutes per game) as well as his offensive responsibilities. Evans could be the reliable punch that Pau Gasol hasn't been (41.6 field-goal percentage).

As for the Nuggets, they've thus far failed to live up to their preseason hype. At 21-16, they'd be a playoff team if the season ended today. 

But they'd also appear destined for a brief postseason stay. Evans may not be the superstar talent that analysts say the team needs, but even with the lowest offensive output in his career, he's already scoring better than all but one of the Nuggets players.

The Celtics are the toughest team to gauge.

They already have defense and slashing in their backcourt in the forms of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. And their current season-best four-game winning streak has them looking more like a tough out for any Eastern Conference opponent.

But the team could be looking to get younger, particularly with a player that doesn't bring any financial commitments beyond the season.

Evans may not have the same promise he showed just three seasons ago. But that's a major reason why he's even available.

If he can channel even a portion of that promise, he could be the difference between a fleeting playoff run or a lengthy postseason stay.