It is no secret that the New Orleans Pelicans would prefer to move on from Tyreke Evans. In the last year he has undergone three knee surgeries and played just 25 games last season. His time on the floor under Alvin Gentry was far from smooth. The lack of fit in the offense came to a head after a disastrous performance against the Boston Celtics.
"I thought I should have just kept attacking more," said Evans, who was 0 for 5 from the floor and finished with three assists and five turnovers. "Even though they're a good defensive team, I think I didn't put no pressure on the defense because I was trying to find guys, trying to swing the ball."
Gentry said on Sunday that "the thing that we're trying to make (Evans) understand is that, when he gives it up, we're going to give it back to him." He wants the ball moving from one side of the floor to the other via passes, rather than having a single player dribble the ball for seconds at a time.
But Evans said on Monday that focusing on giving up the ball early in the shot clock "kind of messed my rhythm up a little bit."
"I started to look to pass first," Evans said. "That's when it kind of went south on me, instead of just doing what I do, and that's attack and if I see somebody open, find them. My mindset (tonight) was just pass first, but that isn't the way I play. I play attack first, and if somebody's open I find them. I just got to do a better job with that."
Later that month, on Christmas Day and on national television, Evans had another undesirable performance. Not only was his stat line poor but he frequently failed to understand or execute the plays called. These were not plays called from the sideline, the Pelicans were coming out of a timeout.
Let's talk about some potential trades the Pelicans could make to find Evans a new home. I'll list these in order of my personal preference. There are a lot of teams out there who could use a point guard and while Tyreke Evans has not fit well with Alvin Gentry he is certainly a talented basketball player.
Chicago Bulls - Taj Gibson for Tyreke Evans
This works on a number of levels for both teams. First, the Bulls do not have a point guard on their roster at the moment after trading away Derrick Rose. Evans could slide into the starting point guard slot with little difficulty beside Jimmy Butler. Will he fit in Fred Hoiberg's offense? That's up to Chicago to find out.
For the Pelicans, moving Evans for Gibson creates an additional $1.2 million in cap room. That's enough of a boost to create a max cap slot without making any other moves. Gibson provides in a number of areas right away on the court as well. He's a rugged defender and rebounder capable of backing up Anthony Davis at the power forward position and guarding bigger centers in small ball lineups beside AD. As a long time vet he would be a welcome sight in a locker room with a need for leadership.
Dallas Mavericks - Chandler Parsons sign-and-trade for Tyreke Evans
I expect the Pelicans to chase Parsons hard at the beginning of free agency and a max contract offer (4 years, $94 million) may be offered quickly to get his commitment this weekend. However, a move or two is necessary to get to $22.2 million in room for his first year. One easy method is sending the point guard-less Mavericks Tyreke Evans in a sign-and-trade on July 7th.
Is Evans a good fit under Rick Carlisle? Probably not. But, the Mavericks have taken gambles on point guards who don't fit before. Should Dallas strike out in free agency (an annual tradition) they will again need a point guard as the roster carousel begins to slow to a stop.
Detroit Pistons - Reggie Bullock for Tyreke Evans
This would not even be to become the starter, as Reggie Jackson is firmly entrenched as Stan Van Gundy's point guard. But, at the cost of just $8 million in cap room the Pistons could gain an overqualified reserve to add to their long, deep team.
Reggie Bullock is a small forward, and one that rarely played for the Pistons last year, logging just 429 minutes. A bevy of superior options are blocking the way to playing time; Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tobias Harris, Stanley Johnson, and Marcus Morris. Toss recently acquired draft picks Henry Ellenson and Michael Gbinije into the back end of the forward rotation as well. Bullock is being squeezed out. Why not give him a chance in New Orleans? There are minutes available at small forward.
Philadelphia 76ers - A couple real second round picks for Tyreke Evans
Bryan Colangelo wants to add talent. The Sixers might offer huge contracts to nearly every significant restricted free agent in the first days of the frenzy and see if they cannot call the bluff of teams holding the right to match. Still, who is their point guard exactly? Last December Colangelo sent the Pelicans two second round picks for Ish Smith. Philly has over $50 million in cap room and reaching the salary floor may become a challenge.
Second round picks are potential future assets and Philadelphia owns seven future second round picks from other teams thanks to Sam Hinkie. Colangelo would hardly know they were gone.
Brooklyn Nets - A fake second round pick (or Jarrett Jack) for Tyreke Evans
We're scrapping the bottom of the barrel now. This is a pure salary dump. Jack's salary is guaranteed for just $500k if he's waived today. Brooklyn doesn't have a point guard and, like many teams, may swing and miss in free agency. Tyreke Evans could steady a rudderless ship and, with the help of new head coach Kenny Atkinson, begin to embrace ball movement beyond dribbling.
As we plunged down the options your response likely grew more and more negative. That's fine. If Dell Demps can get the commitment of a significant free agent in the first days of free agency expect his next move to be sniffing out options to move Tyreke Evans and create greater flexibility.
I will miss the "straight gas, not stopping at no stores" era of the New Orleans Pelicans. Sadly, it lasted less than a couple months. I won't go so far as to guarantee Evans is traded, but I have strong suspicions he will not suit up for the Pelicans this season. Let's hope Dell Demps can snag the best possible return if that's the case.