Tyreke Evans' future destination has been decided.
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 10, at 7:13 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
Evans announced that he will officially join the Pelicans via Twitter:
I am officially signed with the N.O. Pelicans! I'm excited to play & played for 2 great cities with great fans. Amazing.— Tyreke Evans (@TyrekeEvans) July 10, 2013
---End of update---
UPDATE: Thursday, July 4, at 7:23 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo
ESPN's Marc Stein provides details on the sign and trade that will send Evans to the Pelicans:
Deal will be completed July 10, sources say, sending Evans to Pelicans via S-and-T. Robin Lopez to Portland; Greivis Vasquez to Sacramento— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2013
---End of Update---
UPDATE: Thursday, July 4, at 10:45 a.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland
The Sacramento Bee reports that while the Kings don't want Evans back, they're looking to get something in return.
The Kings will not match the four-year, $44 million offer sheet that Tyreke Evans has agreed to sign with the New Orleans Pelicans. According to sources close to the situation, the new Kings management group instead is hoping to close Thursday on a sign-and-trade agreement involving Pelicans point guard Greivis Vasquez and backup center Robin Lopez.
No deals can be finalized until July 10.
Because Evans, the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year, is a restricted free agent, the Kings have the right to match any offer he receives in the open market. However, team officials reportedly believe the offer is excessive and would damage the team's long-term salary cap flexibility. They pulled their four-year, $52 million offer to free agent Andre Iguodala Tuesday when the Denver Nuggets swingman refused to make a firm commitment.
---End of Update---
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 3, at 10:00 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
TNT's David Aldridge provided an update on Evans:
Tyreke Evans, per source, gives Pelicans verbal commitment to sign 4 yr, $44 million offer sheet July 10. Kings will have 3 days to match.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 4, 2013
---End of update---
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 3, at 9:42 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
ESPN's Marc Stein reiterates the situation between Evans and the Pelicans:
Earlier story clearly pointed in this direction, but just heard Pelicans & Tyreke Evans are indeed now in process of finalizing offer sheet— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2013
---End of update---
According to SportsCenter's Twitter, Evans and the Pelicans have agreed to a four-year, $44 million offer sheet:
As Evans is a restricted free agent, however, the Sacramento Kings have the right to match the deal and keep him in Sacramento. Under the league's collective bargaining agreement, the Kings will have three days to match the deal once signed. Evans cannot officially sign his tender until the league's moratorium on transactions ends on July 10.
Whether the team will do so ultimately depends on how management views the 23-year-old guard. New majority owner Vivek Ranadive has made it an overarching policy to clean house from the previous regime under the Maloof family. He has hired a new head coach in Mike Malone, a new general manager in Pete D'Alessandro and made numerous other more minor changes to the franchise.
Roster composition will likely be next on that checklist. The Kings have missed the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons, winning less than 35 percent of their games in each of the last five.
The status of Evans, once viewed as a vital cog in the team's rebuilding effort, could be a major sign about Ranadive's plans for the future.
Named the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 20.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game, Evans was viewed as a potential superstar in the making. Equipped with an elite combination of athleticism, ball-handling skills and size, the former Memphis standout was the latest in a factory line of John Calipari NBA exports.
Since that rookie campaign, though, Evans' career has been on a strange, rapid decline. Evans' scoring output has declined in each of his four NBA seasons, going from 20.1 a game as a rookie down to 15.2 last season. He's also seen his minutes and role slowly dip as well, with Sacramento's cabal of backcourt players sliding into a perpetual state of role uncertainty.
Part of that is Evans' fault. He's failed to get better as a spot-up shooter, knocking down only 26.2 percent of his jump shots last season—an improvement of just over 1 percent from his rookie year. There are also major questions about Evans' decision-making and shot selection. While his turnover rate has been cut precipitously over the course of his career, his assist numbers have cratered equally.
However, there is a school of thought that Evans was a victim of his circumstance—a valid point New Orleans obviously buys into. Evans' role after his rookie season took many forms, but few of them involved Evans playing to the height of his skill set. Mostly an oversized point guard as a rookie and in his second year under Paul Westphal, Evans failed to excel under the more traditional Keith Smart.
The now-fired Smart moved Evans all around the wing spots, even starting him at small forward for certain stretches in 2011-12. While that move allowed Isaiah Thomas to flourish, it left Evans hanging out to dry without a defined role. Said Evans, midway through last season, via Cowbell Kingdom:
“A little bit, it’s a little frustrating," Tyreke Evans said when asked if Smart’s rotations were wearing on him. “Everybody’s frustrated. This is the NBA and when the rotation don’t go right for us, we’ve got to be professional. We’ve got to learn to hear our coach. If he don’t make the right subs with somebody, you can’t be mad. Whoever’s out there just got to work."
Should the Kings match Tyreke Evans' offer sheet?
How Evans fits with the Pelicans is still a bit up in the air. He could become something of a super sixth man, which is a destiny some have called for since his career began. Or Pelicans coach Monty Williams could try him out as a combo guard, hoping Evans' shot-creation skills haven't atrophied the past couple years in Sacramento.
But before any of that speculation begins, the Kings have to answer whether they're still willing to pay and make Tyreke Evans part of their future.
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