For the first time in his NBA career, Tyreke Evans will wear a visiting jersey tonight as he enters Sleep Train Arena – likely to a thunderous applause.
The former Rookie of the Year was the first true sign (or so we thought) to a potential successful rebuild, but Evans’ game stagnated with a lack of coaching – something he now has in New Orleans under Monty Williams.
Under a new regime, it’s likely many King fans wonder what Evans’ game would have matured into had he remained in Sacramento, something the one-time Memphis Tiger likely looks back on as well, recently suggesting it was somewhat disappointing he couldn’t have stayed given the uncertainty he went through with the franchise in limbo:
“The only thing that was a little disappointing was that it would have been nice to be here after all the uncertainty,” Evans said after practice Sunday at Sleep Train Arena. “The fans were always so good to me, so I’m happy for the fans. It was meant to be. Just walking into the arena, thinking about everything, it’s a good feeling to know things worked out.”
At the end of the day, it’s a business – but Sacramento’s not your typical NBA town. There’s strong feelings there, like it or not and players aren’t just emotionless commodities. Seeing Tyreke walk out with ‘New Orleans’ plastered against his chest will likely make even the strongest Evans opposition cringe just a bit.
The ‘divorce’ was likely best for all parties involved – but that doesn’t make it any easier.