NBA Trade Rumors: Pelicans’ Tyreke Evans Could be Available

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Jan 18, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans point guard Tyreke Evans (1) drives past Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes (40) during the first half of a game at the New Orleans Arena. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, we wrote that Pelicans’ guard Eric Gordon is drawing a lot of trade interest. Now it appears that another young player on the team could also be dealt if the right offer comes along. According to the New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence, New Orleans could also be interested in dealing guard Tyreke Evans:

The Pelicans signed Tyreke Evans this past summer to a four-year, $44 million free-agent deal and then added veteran PG Jrue Holiday via a trade with the Sixers to join Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis. But all the moves haven’t exactly clicked. In fact, they’ve backfired, with New Orleans losing 13 of its last 17 games after starting out 11-10. The front office’s take? Team execs are saying at least those are assets that can be moved. Davis and Holiday are the keepers.

On the surface, that might seem a bit odd. The Pelicans just traded for Evans, after all, acquiring him from the Sacramento Kings in the offseason. However, New Orleans is in the midst of their third straight losing season and with a 15-24 record, shaking things up might not be the worst idea in the world.

Evans is a player with all kinds of talent and at only 24, there’s no doubt he would be an attractive addition for a lot of teams. One impressive aspect is that at 6-foot-6 he has a good bit of versatility. He can play either guard position and even some at small forward.

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Even with all of the positives Evans hasn’t exactly had a banner year in New Orleans. He’s shooting a career low 41 percent, matched by his second season in the NBA, and significantly lower than his career average of 44.5 percent. That includes a career-low from beyond the arc of 19 percent and since Evans is playing the fewest minutes of his career (25.2 per game), his numbers are down across the board. This year, the former Lottery pick is recording fewer points, rebounds, assists, and steals than his career averages in each of those categories.

That said, you can bet that if Evans is available, teams will come calling. Teams like the Miami Heat and also the Golden State Warriors both reportedly want to land backcourt help. But a player the caliber of Evans will command a lot in return and he would almost certainly be a little too rich for their blood. In addition, those teams almost certainly are looking more for a veteran role player with postseason experience. If a team truly wants to make a run at the guard, it will more than likely be another young, up-and-coming franchise that can give him a lot of minutes.

In the end, that’s really why it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans – particularly if they can unload Gordon for the frontcourt help they desperately need. Even if a Gordon trade goes down, with Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson, and Evans, the Pelicans have a good young nucleus. It makes more sense for them to keep him at this point than to move him.

It’s difficult to imagine New Orleans trading both Gordon and Evans, and Gordon’s name has come up much more when it comes to trade rumor discussion. The guess here is that Evans stays put, but with things going so badly in New Orleans, it’s also hard to rule anything completely out.

Anson Whaley is a freelance writer with more than 16 years of experience. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a current member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). Mr. Whaley has also been a credentialed member of the media for various events.