Tyreke Evans Trade Rumors: Grizzlies to Sit Guard Until Deal Is Completed

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2018

Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans, right, drives against Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

Memphis Grizzlies swingman Tyreke Evans will be held out of the lineup as the team attempts to find a trade partner before the Feb. 8 trade deadline. 

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported trade talks regarding Evans are beginning to "intensify."

Evans, 28, is in the midst of a bounce-back year in his first season in Memphis. He's averaging 19.5 points, 5.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds as one of the few bright spots in a lost season for the Grizzlies. Memphis signed Evans to a one-year, $3.2 million contract last July that has become one of the NBA's biggest bargains.

"He’s been given a ton of freedom here, and he’s taken on that role as a playmaker and a scorer," Grizzlies interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said, per Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal. "He’s not on a personal mission, which is the best part about it. He’s unselfish in what he’s doing. He’s helping our team in a multitude of ways. He knows we need him to score the ball, but if you look at some of the plays and passes he’s made, he’s playing for the team."

Multiple reports have said the Grizzlies want a first-round pick in exchange for Evans, though their likelihood of securing one seems shaky. Evans will almost certainly be a rental for whichever team acquires him. He has no Bird Rights and stands to make a substantial raise from his 2017-18 salary on his next contract; whichever team acquires him will have very limited financial flexibility in offering a new deal (assuming they are over the cap).

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported the Philadelphia 76ers have interest in Evans but have thus far balked at surrendering a first. The Sixers are one of the few teams with enough cap flexibility that they could reasonably trade for now and re-sign Evans this offseason.

Evans is also a major injury risk, missing large chunks of time throughout his career due to various ailments—most prominently knee problems. Any team acquiring him over the short and long term has to weigh the risk and reward, even as he's playing perhaps the best basketball of his career. 

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