Somebody spent hours on this. Think about that.
The NBA hasn’t seen an offseason like this one before. The Draft was absolute bedlam, coaches are getting traded for picks (I didn’t even know that was possible), and “superstars” like Dwight Howard are clamoring equally for contracts and attention. In all of that, it can be hard to keep track of just how our favorite professional players are affected. Some got an unexpected payday (Keith Bogans), and others took a temporary hit (Nerlens Noel). But two of BBN’s favorite players in recent years are about to be affected very differently by a possible free agent acquisition.
The New Orleans Pelicans are fresh off of picking Nerlens and shipping him to Philly, which is really a pretty good move. Nerlens gets to live close to home, and rehab his knee with an organization that has history being patient with knee injuries (see: Andrew Bynum). As much as we’d like to see a Nerlens/Davis combo, a Nerlens/Bynum combo could be a lot of fun for the former Wildcat, too. One’s got the strength, the other’s got the athleticism. It could be fun. Meanwhile, the Pelicans get 23-year-old All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, who should take some of the ball-handling responsibility from the insufferable Austin Rivers and better-than-expected Greivis Vasquez. Overall, this is a solid move for New Orleans.
But they’re not finished with their backcourt, according to my extended Twitter fam:
As @ESPNSteinLine reported, Pelicans will meet with Tyreke Evans late tonight. Told they will have an offer sheet in hand–a big one.
– David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 1, 2013
That offer sheet might be something like $44 million over four years. That’s big money, especially for a guy whose stats were significantly lower across the board this year than his career averages. And I’m not the only one noticing this; literally as I’m typing this, KSR favorite Gregg Doyel tweeted out similar concerns:
At his current rate, late in his 4-year deal with the Pelicans, Tyreke Evans will be averaging 4.2 ppg and 1.8 apg
– Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) July 1, 2013
There’s no doubt Evans is talented, but he’s been somewhat mysterious during his time in Sacramento. And he’s not exactly on the upswing. Not to mention the deal would force New Orleans into either starting three guards, or trading Eric Gordon. There are more question marks with this move than there are with the Nerlens/Jrue trade, but the real concern is this…
Picking up Evans would likely mean dropping Darius Miller. That $11m/year salary has to come from somewhere, and unfortunately for the former Wildcat, it’ll probably come in the form of a mass dumping of reserves who take up room toward the salary cap. Because Miller’s contract is a second-rounder, it’s only partially guaranteed. So while he has a higher PER (Player Efficiency Rating) than Austin Rivers, with a smaller contract, he’d be toward the front of the line on the chopping block. It would also leave the Pelicans with one fewer capable 3-point shooter at the SF position.
We all want the best for our former Wildcats, even if that means they can’t always play together. Anthony and Nerlens would have been amazing to see, but I’m really happy to have Jrue Holiday in there to make Anthony better. This Evans deal, though, might hurt both Davis and Miller. Miller, obviously, would be looking for a new team, and Davis might not get the looks he wants if he has to share with Austin Rivers AND Tyreke Evans.
So, let’s hope that, for whatever reason, Tyreke Evans likes it in Sacramento.