Tyreke Evans will soon become an official member of the New Orleans Pelicans.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Pelicans have agreed to a three-way trade that will send Robin Lopez to the Portland Trail Blazers and Greivis Vasquez to the Sacramento Kings to facilitate their deal with Evans:
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
The Trail Blazers will send the rights to Jeff Withey and a future second-round pick to New Orleans in exchange for Lopez's rights, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
Portland will send Jeff Withey to Pelicans as part of 3-team deal, league source tells Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 4, 2013
Blazers will also send a future second round pick to the Kings, source says.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 4, 2013
Like all transactions that have happened this offseason, the deal cannot become official until July 10. As part of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, there is a moratorium placed on trades and free-agent signings from July 1-9 of this season.
The 23-year-old Evans had verbally agreed to a four-year, $44 million offer sheet with New Orleans on Wednesday, setting off a rapid-fire negotiations process. While the Kings initially wanted to bring their former first-round pick back to Sacramento, New Orleans' exorbitant offer led to some trepidation from the front office.
Evans has spent each of his first four seasons with the Kings. Upon hearing that the deal was going through, Evans sent out his well wishes to fans and his soon-to-be former organization on his Twitter account:
Just got back to Sac. I had a great 4 years here. The Kings fans are amazing i will never forget you. Alot of memories. Thank you all!— Tyreke Evans (@TyrekeEvans) July 5, 2013
Drafted fourth overall the 2009 draft, Evans the NBA Rookie of the Year award, averaging 20.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game while acting as Sacramento's primary ball-handler. That stat line made Evans just the fourth rookie in NBA history to average a 20-5-5 line, joining LeBron James, Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan.
Where the other three players on that list went on to become perennial All-Stars and Hall of Famers, Evans' career has been in a downward trend ever since. His points per game, assists and rebounds have gone down in every season since his rookie campaign. Sacramento's logjam in the backcourt and the team's uncertainty with how to properly use Evans played large factors, as he spent major minutes at point guard, shooting guard and small forward under the now-fired Keith Smart.
Evans' role with the Pelicans is still unclear—they acquired Jrue Holiday to play the point and have Eric Gordon on the roster—but the trade of Vasquez to Sacramento should help clear depth. The 26-year-old point guard had the finest season of his career in 2012-13, averaging 13.9 points, nine assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. Thanks to his durability, Vasquez led the NBA in total assists.
Holiday's acquisition at the 2013 NBA draft made Vasquez expendable—though he wasn't the Kings' first choice. According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, this deal only went through after free-agent point guard Jose Calderon rebuffed Sacramento's overtures:
Calderon turned down Kings offer within past hour, ultimately deciding against a full-blown rebuilding project, sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 4, 2013
With Calderon out of play, Sacramento has green-lighted the three-team trade, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 4, 2013
Lopez, meanwhile, had seemed like a natural fit for Portland for days. The 25-year-old center averaged 11.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game this past season and should provide Portland's frontcourt with some much-needed depth.
New Orleans needed to move the $5.12 million Lopez is owed for next season to facilitate the Evans deal. The Pelicans had the option of releasing Lopez by Friday with only a $500,000 charge, with the final two years of his contract becoming guaranteed had they not done so. Sending him to Portland allows New Orleans to recoup assets—however minor—for the underrated big man.
None of the three teams has officially released a statement at this time due to the pending nature of the agreement.
Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter: