|SI.com reports the Kings are open to a future without Tyreke Evans. (Getty Images)|
DeMarcus Cousins looks like an All-Star in the near future. Isaiah Thomas is the point guard they've always needed. They drafted Jimmer Fredette and everything that comes with it. Marcus Thornton is Buckets. And they'll likely have a killer pick in a loaded draft this year as well.
So what do they do with Tyreke Evans?
The 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year posted a 20-5-5 that season and an 18.6 PER. It was the stuff of legend. But plantar fasciitis, other injuries and continuing question marks over his position relative to point guard, shooting guard, or small forward lead to a dramatic regression in his second year. He's recovered somewhat this season but is still shooting just 42 percent from the field and hasn't recovered in any statistical category. He's shooting a career worst 22 percent from three-point range. In short, "the jump" has not been made.
The result? The Kings may... wait for it... let him walk rather than extend him. And if that's the way it goes down, the Kings may very well end up trading the 2010 Rookie of the Year and the guy who was their biggest building block just two seasons ago. From SI.com:
While it's not known whether the Kings (14-27) have fielded calls regarding Tyreke Evans, it's safe to say the third-year player's long-term future with the team is uncertain.
The 2009-10 Rookie of the Year is no longer considered the centerpiece of the Kings' new core, with that distinction clearly belonging to second-year center DeMarcus Cousins. Evans is eligible for an extension this summer but it's looking unlikely to be offered one unless he shows major improvement.
viaJosh Smith, Dwight Howard in similar situations, more NBA trade chatter - Sam Amick - SI.com.
There are plenty of reasons not to commit long-term money to Tyreke Evans. Committing that money to players who aren't worth it is essentially the definition of how to kill your franchise. They get one player to use which allows a five-year max extension for players coming off the rookie deal. You want that for DeMarcus Cousins, even with his emotional baggage.
But the worst-case scenario is the Kings can allow him to enter restricted free agency, sign a four-year max, and match it. That's the absolute worst-case. In all honesty, you don't want to use the five-year deal on either one. Evans has continued to struggle with a position (it's a tense debate I'm in the minority on so I won't go into here) and his jumper is a question mark, never good for a guard; Cousins is obscenely talented and yet flat out dogs it on defense about 1 in 4 possessions and drives teammates nuttier than any player I may have ever seen.
But to just give him away?
At 22, Evans has a ways to go before his career arc is established. He hasn't played for a duration of time with a good development coach, and the talent has never been well-fit around him. They've continuosly complicated the roster in search of a solution and are always asking him to play different things. Maybe a fresh start would be the best for him, but it sure seems like a knee-jerk reaction for a team that very much does not need it. If Evans does hit the market, sutiors will not be hard to find.