Posted Jul 2, 2013 6:04 AM
The New Orleans Pelicans are trying to improve their team quickly this offseason. In the first minutes of free agency early Monday morning, the Pelicans committed to giving the Sacramento Kings' restricted free agent guard Tyreke Evans a four-year, $44 million offer sheet when the NBA's moratorium on signing players ends July 10, according to league sources.
Under NBA rules, once the Kings officially receive the offer sheet, they'd have three days to decide whether to match the terms of the sheet and retain Evans, or decline to match and let him go to the Pelicans.
Pelicans general manager Dell Demps met with Evans and his representatives shortly after midnight Sunday evening/Monday morning in Los Angeles, as soon as teams were able to start negotiations with free agents.
Evans, the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year, averaged 15.2 points last season for Sacramento. But the Kings declined to give Evans a contract extension last fall, giving him an opportunity to negotiate contracts with other teams this summer. But Sacramento retained its rights to match any offer sheet by giving Evans a qualifying offer last week for $6.9 million for next season.
Sacramento's backcourt situation became complicated when the Kings took Kansas freshman shooting guard Ben McLemore with the seventh pick in last week's NBA Draft. The Kings have used the 24-year-old Evans at both guard spots over the years, but he's also played small forward, so there's no guarantee that McLemore's arrival means Evans' departure.
Nor, if New Orleans eventually gets Evans, does his arrival there mean the Pelicans would be looking to get rid of incumbent two-guard Eric Gordon. The Pelicans, 27-55 last season, have a need to improve themselves at their three position, and could play Evans there alongside Gordon and newly acquired point guard Jrue Holiday.
The Pelicans are also believed to have a strong interest in unrestricted free agent forward Andre Iguodala. The Nuggets' player will be one of the most sought-after free agents this summer.
New Orleans got Holiday and a second-round pick from the 76ers on Draft night in exchange for the rights to rookie center Nerlens Noel, taken sixth by the Pelicans in the first round Thursday, and a 2014 first-round pick. The pick is lottery-protected 1-5, meaning the Pelicans would retain it if they have one of the top five picks in next year's Draft. If they don't, the 76ers receive the pick.
Longtime NBA reporter and columnist David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.
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