NBA Trade Rumors: Why Sacramento Kings Must Hold on to Tyreke Evans

Branden FitzPatrick@divingmelvinCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18:  Tyreke Evans #6 of the Sacramento Kings, who is missing the game due to injury, looks on during the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam at Staples Center on February 18, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Rumors have swirled around recently that Tyreke Evans could be on the move.

The former Rookie of the Year was a spark of life to a Sacramento Kings franchise that looked dead in the water. In his rookie campaign, Evans accomplished something that only three other players have done—average 20 points, five assists and five rebounds.

Who were the others?

None other than Oscar Robertson, LeBron James and...Michael Jordan.

You can't blame Kings fans for getting their hopes up that Evans would be the savior of Sacramento basketball. The Kings haven't had a franchise player since they traded a past-his-prime Chris Webber for 50 cents on the dollar.

Since the Webber trade, the Kings have been in a basketball abyss.    

Franchise players usually make the leap from "talented youngster" to "all-star" in their third year. This is Evans third year as a pro and one thing is clear — Evans is not a franchise player.

Evans has too many flaws to be "the guy." He's a dangerous black hole that can disrupt the offense. No one knows what position he plays. He's had some off court issues and he only shoots 42 percent from the field.

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What's worse is that Evans is not improving. In fact, he seems to be regressing.

Last year he suffered from plantar fasciitis for a majority of the season. He has not been the same player since.

From Sam Amick of SI.com

The 2009-10 Rookie of the Year is no longer considered the centerpiece of the Kings' new core, with that distinction clearly belonging to second-year center DeMarcus Cousins. Evans is eligible for an extension this summer but it's looking unlikely to be offered one unless he shows major improvement.

Evans, who has one season remaining on his rookie contract and could be a restricted free agent next summer, simply doesn't shine like he did in his debut. And if the Kings are convinced that Evans is likely gone after next season, they might be willing to move him for someone who can help expedite this slowest of rebuilding efforts.

DeMarcus Cousins has clearly replaced Evans as the franchise's new building block. Cousins has improved drastically from his rookie season.

A big man who averages almost 17 points and 11 boards is rare. 

What's not rare is a scoring guard/small forward that doesn't pass or shoot efficiently. The league is filled with guys like that i.e. Corey Maggette.

But unlike Maggette, Evans' career is salvageable. That's why the Kings must hold onto him. At least for another year.

The Kings are not going to get a player back in a trade that's as good as Evans.

So why trade him?

If management wants to trade him, why not at least wait for the off-season to make a deal. There's no such thing as "expediting" the rebuilding process. You either draft the right players, or you don't. 

Evans is only 22-years old. Too often teams make mistakes and trade a young, talented player too soon. A large reason why Evans hasn't improved is because of the situation Kings management has put him in. They made a mistake hiring Paul Westphal, who didn't do much to aid his development. They've compiled a confusing roster that has trouble playing well together.

And they've asked Evans to play so many different positions that he's struggled to get comfortable. 

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22:  Tyreke Evans #13 of the Sacramento Kings puts up a shot in front of Trevor Booker #35 of the Washington Wizards during the first half at Verizon Center on February 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ack
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The NBA is filled with late bloomers.

Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace and Gerald Wallace to name a few, were all late bloomers. The biggest mistake their teams made was giving up on them too early.

Not giving Evans an extension this summer is the right move. But trading him would be the wrong move. It would be a sign of failure for the Kings franchise.

How many mistakes can management make before the Maloofs decide to clean house? Evans saved Geoff Petrie's job because of his brilliant rookie season. If Evans is traded, management should be held accountable.

Evans didn't hire Westphal, he didn't draft Jimmer Fredette and he did not ask to be put in a situation where he would almost certainly fail.

When a former Rookie of the Year fails to pan out, it's not just the player's fault. It's the team's fault.  

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