David Aldridge, TNT Analyst
Posted Jul 4, 2013 6:05 PM
The Sacramento Kings made their decision about restricted free agent guard Tyreke Evans, agreeing to let him go to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of a three-team deal including the Portland Trail Blazers, according to league sources.
Evans, who agreed to a four-year, $44 million offer sheet earlier this week, will go to New Orleans in a sign-and-trade deal. The Kings will receive guard Greivis Vasquez from the Hornets, with Pelicans center Robin Lopez going from New Orleans to Portland. The Blazers will send two future second-round picks to Sacramento.
In New Orleans, Evans will play, for now, with newly-acquired guard Jrue Holiday and shooting guard Eric Gordon, giving the Pelicans solid scoring to go alongside second-year big man Anthony Davis, the first pick in the 2012 Draft. Evans, the Rookie of the Year in 2010, played some small forward for the Kings the last couple of seasons.
The trade will not be official until Evans can sign his new contract July 10, when the moratorium on NBA transactions is lifted.
The Kings went ahead with the deal after Pistons free agent guard Jose Calderon turned down a multi-year offer to sign in Sacramento. When Calderon said no the Kings pulled the trigger to get Vasquez, the third-year guard who finished second in this year's Most Improved Player balloting and third (9.0) in the league in assists per game.
The 31-year-old Calderon is looking for a team that's a little further ahead in the rebuilding process than the Kings, who are just a couple of months removed from the team being acquired by a group led by Vivek Ranadive that kept it in Sacramento.
"It just wasn't the right timing for him right now," agent Mark Bartlestein said of Calderon and the Kings. "They did a great job. They have a great vision for where they're going with the franchise. They have a ton of energy. It's just where Jose is, they're rebuilding and everything, it just wasn't the right fit right now."
Vasquez became expendable in New Orleans when the Pelicans acquired Holiday, an All-Star last year, from the 76ers as part of a Draft night trade. The Pelicans still have Austin Rivers, their other first-rounder in 2012, to play in their guard rotation with Holiday and Gordon.
The Pelicans acquired Lopez from Phoenix last summer as a stopgap at the center spot, but the Blazers, who played most of last season with undersized J.J. Hickson at center, had a need for a bigger big man to play in the middle alongside All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Sacramento Bee first reported the possibility of a three-team deal between the Kings, Pelicans and Trail Blazers.
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