Evans Brings "Fear Factor" To Raptors

Evans Info Page | Official News Release | Bryan Colangelo News Conference Video: Part 1 | Part 2

Mike Ulmer -- raptors.com
June 9, 2009

Reggie Evans has benefited from word of mouth.

Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo began the process of adding bite to his roster, Tuesday, swapping perimeter shooter Jason Kapono, 28, to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the 29-year-old Evans.

“Reggie is a presence on the court,” Colangelo said. “He adds a little bit of a fear factor to players out there. Maybe even some of our players in the past. I won’t divulge sources. Reggie strikes a fear in some people because he’s a rugged player.”

Evans is a determined rebounder and an excellent defender. He has ranked in the top 10 in rebounds per 48 minutes in each of the past six seasons. Last year, Evans finished seventh in the league with an average15.8 rebounds per 48 minutes and he has three 20 rebound games in a career that has included stops in Seattle (2002-2006), Denver (2006-2007) and Philadelphia (2007-2009).

He is by no means a gifted scorer. The six-foot-eight, 245-pound Evans has averaged only 4.3 points a game. He is a poor shooter and miserable from the foul line where his career percentage is 52.5.

The Raptors, desperate for increased grit and defensive commitment through the lineup want to exploit those very characteristics while leaving the offence to others.

To that end, their offseason retooling began with the hiring of the defensive-minded Marc Iavaroni as an assistant for coach Jay Triano. Evans is another piece.

“We are getting someone who can play alongside a Chris Bosh or an Andrea Bargnani.” Colangelo said. “He averaged 14 and a half minutes on a deep and talented team.”

Expect Evans to challenge the returning Kris Humphries for minutes.

Kapono, signed away from the Miami Heat as a free agent by Colangelo two seasons ago, never really caught on as a Raptor. He started only 19 games over the last two years and while he could be an accurate long range shooter with a terrific release, his defensive liabilities limited his playing time. The Raptors never developed a consistent plan to get him the ball. With Bosh, Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani and Anthony Parker willing and able to shoot from distance, there was no compelling reason to keep Kapono in the lineup and he failed to register a point six times last season.

Both players have two years left on their deals. Evans will be paid $9.6 million while Kapono is in line for $12.8 million.

“This does increase our flexibility,” Colangelo said. “Right now, potentially, we have $8.9 million of cap space as a result of this deal. With those portions of those contracts that are non-guaranteed, we could get up to as much as $10.1 million if we choose to go that path in free agency. We have the option of signing Shawn Marion or not, utilizing the sign and trade or not or renouncing the whole pile of free agents and wading into the free agent pool.”

Colangelo showed little concern about Chris Bosh’s intention to play out his contract.

“I still intend to build a team as if Chris was the cornerstone. I have no intention of shopping Chris Bosh. We’re going to go into the season and see what happens. If a trade makes itself available, we’ll pursue it. That’s what we do. All intentions are to keep Chris Bosh here, to sign him to a new contract.”

Also, the long-discussed addition of former Raptor Alvin Williams to the basketball operation seems to be nearly completed.

“There are some ongoing discussions about that, potentially an announcement in the coming days, but nothing concrete,” Colangelo said. “I know Jay has had some solid discussions. Alvin has spoken about being involved, probably in the development area.”