5 Tyreke Evans Trades the Sacramento Kings Should Be Pitching
Evans is a restricted free agent after the season, meaning he can test the open market but the Kings have the right to match any offer he receives. Therefore, they'll have a chance to bring him back if that's what they want to do.
But do the Kings want to keep Evans—especially given the price tag he may receive in free agency? Behind DeMarcus Cousins, Evans may be the best player the Kings have. And until this year, he hasn't even come close to matching the production of his rookie season.
If the Kings decide that they're unlikely to re-sign him this offseason, then they should move him prior to the trade deadline. Otherwise Evans will walk, with Sacramento getting nothing in return.
If that's the case, here are five trade proposals centered around Tyreke Evans that the Kings should be pitching.
Trade Evans to the Brooklyn Nets
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From the Nets' perspective, they'd be getting a super-sub in Evans. Because of Tyreke's size and versatile skill set, he's more than capable of playing the 1, 2 or 3.
The Nets are set in the starting lineup at those positions with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace. Their backups, however, leave a lot to be desired. By playing all three positions, Evans could get more than enough playing time to impact the game.
Hayes is mostly thrown in for salary purposes. However, he'd be a capable rotational player, especially because Brooklyn is giving up its key frontcourt backup in Humphries.
For the Kings, getting Humphries is an upgrade over Hayes as a backup. He's also an upgrade over Thomas Robinson at this stage in T-Rob's career.
MarShon Brooks is the real upside here for the Kings. He was solid as a rookie for much of the season last year, averaging 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists. His minutes have taken a hit so his overall production is down, but his numbers have actually increased on a per-36 minute basis, meaning he should still be a good player as his role increases. Furthermore, he's only 23 years old and still on his rookie contract, which means he's inexpensive and still has potential for improvement.
Trade Evans to the Detroit Pistons
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The Pistons were one of the teams speculated to be interested in trading for DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins is unlikely to be traded, but the Kings could send Tyreke Evans to Detroit instead.
In this scenario, the Kings would send Tyreke and Francisco Garcia to Detroit for Rodney Stuckey and Tayshaun Prince.
This trade would seemingly benefit the Pistons for the long term. By sending Prince and Stuckey to Sacramento, Detroit would rid itself of $15.26 million in salary obligations for next season. But it's not just the 2013-14 season because Stuckey has two years remaining on his deal and Prince has three. The Kings would be able to get rid of Garcia and his troublesome contract, but his contract is on par with Prince's and has one less year.
The swap could also have another effect on Detroit, in that it would likely be able to retain Evans if it wanted to. Tyreke's contract does expire after the season, but he's a restricted free agent, meaning the Pistons would have to right to match any offer coming his way. By dealing Stuckey and Prince, they would have the necessary cap space to match any offer for Evans.
From the Kings' perspective, this trade would add more depth to the squad. They could either move Stuckey into the starting lineup at the 2 with Marcus Thornton still coming off the bench, or they could have Stuckey come off the bench with Thornton as the starter. Either way, this is pretty much a wash over their current rotation at the 2.
The real roster upgrade would be with the acquisition of Prince. Prince is clearly overpaid at this point, and he's also still got three years remaining on his deal. However, he's not dead weight. He's still a productive player and is still a good wing defender. Coupled with John Salmons, the Kings would have two perimeter defenders who could provide matchup problems for their opponents.
Trade Evans to the Indiana Pacers
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From the Pacers' perspective, they're getting nothing from Granger. He's been out all season with knee soreness, and it's unknown when he'll be able to return. At 25-16, the Pacers are currently third in the Eastern Conference, and that's with getting absolutely nothing from one of their best players in Granger.
Imagine what Indiana could do if it replaced Granger's non-production with Evans and Salmons. Evans would immediately step into the starting lineup at the 2, giving the Pacers a formidable and upgraded starting five.
The acquisition of Salmons gives them a veteran presence and someone that can play both the 2 and 3. With his defensive acumen, adding Salmons would only bolster what's already one of the league's top defenses.
For the Kings, the only thing they'd be getting for sure is out from under Salmons' contract. He's owed $8 million over each of the next two seasons. While he's a solid player, the Kings could use that money elsewhere, either to sign a free agent or to put towards an extension for DeMarcus Cousins.
In Granger, the Kings wouldn't know what to expect. He could just be damaged goods if he can't ever fully recover from his knee injury. And in that scenario, at least his contract is up after the 2013-14 season. But if he can bounce back to his pre-injury status, Sacramento would have a deadly one-two, inside-out combination with him and Cousins.
Trade Evans to the Memphis Grizzlies
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The Grizzlies have been looking to trade Rudy Gay and the Kings are in need of an upgrade at small forward. Maybe something could be worked out between the two teams.
In this proposal, Memphis would send Gay and Quincy Pondexter to Sacramento for Tyreke Evans, John Salmons and James Johnson.
For the Grizzlies, swapping Evans for Gay would give them some flexibility. Gay's contract pays him $16.4 million for each of the next three seasons. By trading him they'd save themselves that money. Also, by getting Evans, they could either retain him (he's an unrestricted free agent) with their new cap space, or they could let him walk after the season, giving them even more flexibility.
If they let Evans walk, the Grizzlies would have a capable starter in John Salmons. They'd also get added value in James Johnson. He's a lockdown defender so Memphis could pair him with Tony Allen to give itself two defensive specialists. His contract is also up after the season, giving them even more cap space to work with.
For the Kings, getting Gay would give them the upgrade at small forward they desperately need. He's not the most efficient player, but there's no denying his ability to score points, as he's averaged 19.3 points per game since his rookie year. Like with an acquisition of Danny Granger, getting Gay would give the Kings another weapon to put with DMC.
As far as Pondexter is concerned, he'd just be another role player for the Kings. But his inclusion is necessary to match up the salaries.
Trade Evans to the Utah Jazz
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Like with the trade for Danny Granger, this trade could really benefit the Kings, or they could end up not getting much of a return for Evans.
The Jazz currently have a logjam at the 4 and 5. And with promising youngsters in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter who could use more playing time, the Jazz could deal Millsap to clear up some minutes.
Both Evans and Millsap only have one year remaining on their contracts. Millsap, however, is an unrestricted free agent, while Evans is a restricted free agent. As a UFA, the Kings probably wouldn't be able to retain Millsap. Therefore, they'd want something in return for the future, which is where Burks and Evans come in.
Burks was the 12th pick in the 2011 draft but he's underwhelmed so far. In fact, his production, both in overall average and average per-36 minutes, has regressed from what he posted as a rookie. But he's still only 21 years old, so he might be worth taking a flyer on for the Kings.
Jeremy Evans could be another upside play for Sacramento. He hasn't played a ton for the Jazz, but when he has played he's been efficient, which is indicated by his 64.4 percent field-goal percentage and career PER of 18.8. He could keep that production up as his minutes increased, or he could become exposed. It may be worth it for the Kings to find out.
For the Jazz, the trade would free up playing time for Favors and Kanter. And while Utah would be missing a top frontcourt weapon in Millsap, it would be strengthening its backcourt by bringing in Evans. With Favors and Kanter ready to step in at 4 or 5, the team should be more than making up for the loss of Millsap with the addition of Evans and increased playing time from Kanter and Favors.
Then, if the Jazz are able to re-sign Evans following the season, he'd give them a nice one-two punch when coupled with Gordon Hayward.
Aaron Brooks' contract is an option for next year, and with Mo Williams, Randy Foye and Jamaal Tinsley all slated for free agency, the Jazz could use the flexibility of Brooks' contract. They could retain him if they lose those guys in free agency, or they could let him go, freeing up some additional cap space.