According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the Bucks have been prioritizing "strong-willed" candidates as they search for a head coach to replace ousted interim coach Jim Boylan. In his latest piece, Berger sheds some light on one reason for that requirement and touches on a couple other Bucks notes. Let's check out the highlights....
Blake Griffin and Stephen Curry are the only players from the 2009 draft who've averaged more points per game during their careers than Tyreke Evans has. Yet while Griffin received a five-year maximum-salary extension and Curry got four years and $44MM, Evans wasn't one of the eight players cashing in on the more than $400MM that teams handed out in rookie-scale extensions this past offseason. Now he'll try to make his money as a restricted free agent this summer, hoping teams will look past his declining numbers and history of losing with the Kings.
An early season report suggested the Kings would trade Evans if they didn't think they could re-sign him, and despite interest from other teams, Evans remains in Sacramento. That might have more to do with apparent restrictions placed on the Sacramento's front office as a part of the team's pending sale than the thought that Evans might return to the Kings. The 23-year-old indicated in January that he wouldn't mind being traded, so it seems he's at least entertained the idea of playing for another team.
The Grizzlies inquired about the possibility of an Evans trade prior to the Rudy Gay deal, according to Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee, who added that the Lakers and Nuggets have had interest in the past. The Celtics made an ill-fated deadline-day run at trading for Evans. Unless Andre Iguodala exercises his early-termination option to get out of his contract with the Nuggets, none of those teams are set to have significant cap room this summer, so they appear to be unlikely destinations. When Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors looked at Evans' trade candidacy this season, he speculated that the Mavericks and Suns could become suitors, but the 6'6" guard would probably be far down the list of priorities for both teams, and especially for the Mavs.
Evans' scoring, rebounding and assists per game averages have declined each season since he won Rookie of the Year in 2010. Those numbers have fallen with commensurate decreases in minutes, however, and his per-36-minute averages have been fairly consistent the past three seasons. More telling is his PER, which is at 18.4 this season, exceeding his previous career high of 18.2 as a rookie. Indeed, Evans is having his best year as the advanced metrics tell it, setting new high marks in win shares per 48 minutes, true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage. The latter two statistics are helped by his improved three-point shooting. Evans is making a third of his treys this season, and though that doesn't necessarily make him a proficient long-range threat, it's a vast improvement on his nightmarish 20.2% clip from beyond the arc last season.
Still, I think teams will be wary of overpaying a player that the woeful Kings have given less playing time in each successive year. Evans' dwindling minutes, at 31.8 per game this season, may speak as much to the problems in Sacramento as anything else, but they're a red flag nonetheless. The Kings have also moved him around, using him as a point guard and a small forward, but he seems best suited as a shooting guard, and perhaps playing out of position has held him back.
In any case, I don't think it's a slam dunk that Sacramento will tender the $6,927,157 qualifying offer required for them to be able to match offers for him this summer, so Evans might hit the unrestricted market. That could be a blessing in disguise for him, since other teams wouldn't have to worry about the Kings snatching him away, but it may also be a curse, since teams would know they needn't overinflate their offers in hopes that the Kings don't match.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Arn Tellem, Evans' agent, issue a decree that his client won't sign for the mid-level exception, which will have a starting salary of $5.15MM next season, but the mid-level may be their best option. That would allow Evans to sign with a contending team that could nurture his development and help him continue to improve his outside shooting touch in ways the Kings perhaps couldn't. That might set him up to make much more on his next deal, so if Tellem negotiates a player option at the back end of a mid-level contract that would allow Evans to hit the market again while he's relatively young, that sounds ideal for both player and team.
Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW writes that the Mavericks are now in the market for adding a player after severing ties with guard Dominique Jones. Sefko comprises a list including Mike Bibby, Michael Redd, Earl Boykins, and Gilbert Arenas as available veterans who could be worth a look. Among the D-League hopefuls who could warrant an opportunity, Justin Dentmon, Chris Wright, or Sean Singletary come to mind. Sefko rules out the chances of Delonte West making a return to Dallas, citing that the team wouldn't want to reconnect after how badly things ended with him last year. You can find more of tonight's miscellaneous news and notes below:
1:35pm: Barring a last-minute surprise, the Warriors won't make a move to get below the tax, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The Kings had some interest in Jeremy Tyler, according to Spears, but it sounds like the two teams couldn't work out an agreement.
10:22am: Given the team's uncertain ownership situation, we expected a quiet deadline from the Kings, but Sacramento has already made a six-player trade, and is still discussing deals. According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Kings have talked to the Warriors about acquiring one of Golden State's minimum-salary players, with cash as a sweetener.
Sending cash and a player to Sacramento now would help the Warriors save money later, if the team can dip below the luxury-tax threshold. Trading a pair of players from a group of minimum-salary guys that includes Charles Jenkins, Jeremy Tyler, and Kent Bazemore would allow Golden State to avoid being a taxpayer this season.
The Kings, meanwhile, are allowed to take on up to $3MM in cash via trade per season. The team acquired $1MM in its deal with the Rockets, but still has room to take on more, as Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.
While a Kings/Warriors swap would be a minor one, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee isn't ruling out the possibility that Sacramento could explore a larger deal, tweeting that the Kings may revisit Tyreke Evans talks.
Just to make sure they don't slip through the cracks, here are a few odds and ends from overnight and this morning, as the trade deadline creeps closer....
As the Celtics continuing to target backcourt help, the club is making a deadline-day run at Tyreke Evans, reports ESPN.com's Marc Stein (via Twitter). However, a source familiar with the situation tells Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee that Evans won't be moved today (Twitter link).
Jones had reported earlier today (via Twitter) that he was hearing the Kings could revisit trade discussions for Evans, noting that a knee injury earlier this season slowed talks when he could have been moved. It's a little surprising that the Kings are so active, given the team's uncertain ownership situation, but the Seattle group was consulted on yesterday's six-player trade and would presumably also be apprised on any other deals.
It's unclear what sort of package the Celtics could put together for Evans. Players like Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Bass would all be good matches from a salary perspective, but I doubt the Kings would want to take on a long-term contract. Some sort of package of cheaper players on shorter deals, like Fab Melo, Leandro Barbosa, and Jason Collins, may appeal more to Sacramento, if the club is listening to offers.
Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld shares a number of trade rumors and updates in his latest NBA AM piece, so let's dive right in and round up the highlights....
Kings guard Tyreke Evans is playing his best ball of the past few years right now, and he's doing so all the while not showing concern with his free agency situation, writes CSNPhilly.com's Jabari Young. Sacramento chose not to extend Evans earlier this season, and there's much speculation around the league regarding whether or not he could be traded before the deadline.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein has posted his latest Weekend Dime column, featuring updates on several prominent players whose names have been featured in trade rumors ahead of the February 21 deadline. Here are the highlights of Stein's report: