Tyreke Evans last played in an NBA game on January 25, 2016 when the Pelicans hosted the Rockets inside the Smoothie King Center. He had a forgettable showing, as evidenced by the 5 point-2 assist performance in 16 minutes, but there is a good chance that contest may mark the final time Evans will ever represent the New Orleans franchise again.
The Bird Writes has documented the countless trade rumors surrounding Evans in recent months, including for Greg Monroe and Kenneth Faried, as well as pointed out an apparent disconnect between he and the Pelicans about his readiness for the upcoming season, but there are new wrinkles worthy of mention.
Let’s start with Shawn Dawson, an Israeli-league player who decided to agree to a non-guaranteed deal with New Orleans last month rather than Washington, the team he played for during the 2016 Summer League. J. Michael, a Wizards beat writer, stated that Dawson would likely get and accept a Wizards training camp invite barring a better opportunity with another team. Logic dictates Dawson’s odds of making a Wizards team with currently just 12 guaranteed contracts would be significantly higher than having to compete against the Pelicans full roster, right?
Incidentally, just a few days after Dawson agreed to join the Pelicans, Tyreke Evans posted the following cryptic message on his Instagram account.
“It doesn’t matter I do this” — I may be having a lost in translation moment, but this phrase seems to reflect something along the lines that Evans has resigned himself to some predetermined fate not to his liking and feels the need to prove his abilities are intact one more time for a particular audience.
Then this past weekend, rumors emerged that the New Orleans Pelicans were going to bring in Ty Lawson and Lance Stephenson in the coming days for workouts. This coincided well with some information shared by Steve Kyler.
Pelicans have been pretty aggressive in trying to land one of the higher level free agent guards left. Looking for depth.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) August 29, 2016
Among the remaining free agents, these two names were among the most prominent, yet the Pelicans were able to convince them both it was worth their time to fly to New Orleans. This despite the fact that 20 other teams still possess space on their rosters. This despite that ‘looking for depth’ at the guard position does not make any sense for a roster fielding Jrue Holiday, Tim Frazier, Langston Galloway, E’Twaun Moore, Buddy Hield and Evans.
Lastly, the New Orleans Pelicans traveled to Baton Rouge yesterday to show their support for local flood victims and assist/thank a number of volunteer services who have helped immensely in the region. Most of the team’s players were present for this momentous occasion, including Holiday via FaceTime, but Evans was reportedly a no-show, similar to the voluntary workouts in Los Angeles.
With the deadline date of August 31st having passed, the Pelicans no longer have the option to waive and stretch Evans’ contract; however, they could still waive him — essentially eating his final season salary in one fell swoop. If the front office has scoured for an acceptable player exchange ad nauseam, found little to no interest and are assured his return to the floor this season is riddled with too many questions, it’s conceivable we’ll learn in the not too distant future that the Pelicans have been avidly searching for a successor of sorts for months now, regardless of whether they find an amicable trade partner. As Dell Demps once waived Rashard Lewis, jettisoning deadweight and opening up space on the roster sometimes makes for the only solution.