The thought of moving on from Tyreke Evans if you’re a Sacramento Kings fan is almost certainly bittersweet. No matter how you currently feel for the talented, yet, stagnant player, he was once the apple of every King fans eye. But then came injuries – which hampered his play and advancement as a player. Now, soon to be finishing his third NBA season (but only his second healthy), Evans finds himself at crossroads as does the Kings organization who has one more “cheap” year of Evans before a decision would need to be made on his financial future.
For the Kings (and any NBA team, for that matter), overpaying talent is an annual first class ticket to the NBA lottery. It’s a mistake you simply can’t afford – especially given the financial free fall of the Maloofs and the organization. There are two types of contracts in the NBA – getting paid for what you’ve done and getting paid on what you can do. We’ve all seen what Evans can do and there’s no doubt he’ll want to get paid for what many thought he could (and still might be able to) do. But for the Kings, you have to weigh the risk versus reward – is it there?
At only 22 years of age, Evans isn’t even close to reaching his prime as an NBA player – hell, there are countless upper echelon talents in the NBA who really didn’t come around until their mid 20’s – some even waiting until 27 or 28 before having their breakout seasons. For Evans, his unique size and speed can create havoc on a basketball court if properly positioned, but the Kings have failed to do so as they’ve been unable to find a role for the 2009 Rookie of the Year. For much of the season, Evans has looked lost – lost as the Kings coaching staff and front office as it pertains to understanding the position Evans needs to play. Is that their fault though? Not completely, no.
For everything great Evans brings to the floor, there are downfalls. A unique All-Star level ability at getting to the rim is matched with a jumper that would make Jason Hart blush. An ability to push the ball is greeted by a lack of basketball IQ. For everything special, there’s also something that wakes NBA general managers up in cold sweats nightly. Tyreke Evans is the type of talent that you lose your job over. I don’t mean that as a slight, it’s just reality. You make the wrong decision, good or bad – you’re toast. You give up on him too early and he turns into the All-Star so many assumed he’d be? Ballgame. But you don’t give up on him and he flounders after you extended him an annual eight figure salary? Franchise crippling.
Despite the rumors and despite the apparent interest of the Kings to put Evans on the trading block, finding a trade will be nearly impossible. While there will certainly be tons of interest on the open market, it’s simply because teams will hope they can snag a former rookie of the year at a clearance price. If the shoe were on the other foot, King fans would be clamoring to take a “risk” on the guy. But for the Kings, the offers will be minimal in terms of return talent. You make a move, you’re selling low. Sure, you’ll assure yourself some type of return for Evans and you wont have to find yourself in the predicament of paying him, but you’re also giving up on a very talented, although flawed talent extremely young into his career.
There are plenty of times that I and more likely than not, you, wish you were Geoff Petrie.
This, is not one of them.
Thankfully for both the Kings and Evans, they still have one more year to get it right if nothing comes of the Summer trade bonanza.