Tyreke Evans may agree to offer sheet from Pelicans
It was reported last week that the Kings were prepared to lose Evans as a restricted free agent, in large part due to a crowded backcourt. In addition, Evans' play has dropped steadily since his monster rookie campaign, in which he averaged 20.1 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.3 rebounds. Evans' numbers in those categories have decreased in each of the three seasons since his rookie year. However, he did post career highs in field goal percentage and three-point percentage this past season, which shows signs that he is maturing as a player.
Teams were expected to take an interest in Evans, as the Kings appear unlikely to match offer sheets for him, and he has shown a ton of potential in the past. It didn't take long for an offer to come, as the Pelicans have already sent an offer sheet Evans' way. The deal is believed to be a four-year, $44 million pact.
The strong interest Evans has received from the Pelicans could mean one of two things - either the Pelicans expect to move shooting guard Eric Gordon before the start of the season, or they believe Evans could play small forward. The Pelicans trading the injury-prone Gordon may very well be on their wish list, but his salaries over the next three seasons ($14.3, $14.9, and $15.1 million) will make it very difficult to find a trade partner.
Evans playing small forward, however, is a very realistic possibility. Evans was always a big shooting guard at 6'6'', 220 pounds, and he finally began playing some small forward last season, which he said he enjoyed. He has always been more of a slasher/penetrator than a shooter, and his quickness/athleticism could prove very difficult for opposing forwards to defend. Small forward is perhaps the Pelicans' biggest need, so bringing in Evans to fill that role makes sense.
If Evans does agree to the Pelicans' offer sheet, the team will reportedly try to move center Robin Lopez to clear some cap space. They may even attempt to acquire Evans in a sign-and-trade by sending Lopez to Sacramento. Getting rid of Lopez would really thin out the Pelicans' frontcourt, but they would have a large chunk of free agency to find some big bodies.
It's worth noting, however, that while Evans reportedly may agree to the Pelicans' offer sheet by Monday night, that report came before he attended scheduled meetings with the Pistons and Kings. Nothing can become official until July 10, so this is still a situation to keep an eye on.