Tyreke Evans

Tyreke Evans Dismissed, Disqualified From NBA For Drug Violation

Pacers guard Tyreke Evans has been dismissed and disqualified from the NBA for violating the league’s anti-drug program, the NBA announced today in a press release. According to the announcement, Evans will be eligible to apply for reinstatement after two years.

“We take these matters seriously and will reach out to Tyreke to offer our support,” the Pacers said in a statement.

Evans, 29, was the fourth overall pick in the 2009 draft and has spent 10 years playing in the NBA for the Kings, Pelicans, Grizzlies, and Pacers. He had a down year in 2018/19 after signing a one-year, $12.4MM contract with Indiana, averaging 10.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 2.4 APG with a career-worst .389 FG% in 69 games (20.3 MPG).

The specific details surrounding Evans’ violation are unclear, but he isn’t the first player to be hit with this type of two-year ban. The league dismissed former top-five pick O.J. Mayo in 2016, with reports suggesting that Mayo’s violation was related to a “drug of abuse” rather than PEDs or marijuana.

Chris Andersen was also banned from the NBA for two years from 2006 to 2008, with his dismissal also linked to an alleged “drug of abuse.”

Evans, who had been on track for unrestricted free agency this summer, now won’t be eligible to return to the NBA until at least the 2021/22 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tyreke Evans Hasn’t Ruled Out Re-Signing With Pacers

Tyreke Evans will consider re-signing with the Pacers even though this season didn’t meet his expectations, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star reports.

Evans wasn’t thrilled with his role during the regular season after signing a one-year, $12.4MM contract with Indiana in free agency last summer. The combo guard averaged 10.2 PPG in 20.3 MPG in 68 games while taking an average of 9.6 shots, six fewer per game than he did with the Grizzlies last season. He was also nagged by soreness in right knee.

Evans said he wants to play for a “good team,” and the Pacers certainly fit that criteria. But he’d also like to play a role similar to the one he had in the last two games of the playoffs. He averaged 20 PPG in 24 MPG during Games 3 and 4 of Boston’s first-round sweep of Indiana.

Evans, who turned down offers from the Lakers and Hornets last summer, wants to be able to play through his mistakes and utilize his offensive skill set, according to Michael.

“The playing situation was just a little different,” Evans said. “Not how I expected it to be. I feel like I was forcing a lot when I came in.”

Central Notes: Maker, Evans, Pistons, Osman

Thon Maker has given the Pistons an energetic boost since he was acquired from the Bucks in a three-team swap at the trade deadline, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes.

The 7-footer fell out of Milwaukee’s rotation, but has proven to be a solid backup for Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. The Pistons outscored Phoenix by 20 points when Maker was on the court Thursday, as he scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots in 28 minutes.

“He’s been great,” Griffin said of his Pistons teammate. “Just his energy, man. He’s just always everywhere. And if he’s not blocking shots, he’s swinging for the fences. It’s making people think and it’s making people be aware of where he is.”

Maker will make a guaranteed $3.57MM next season and will be eligible for a rookie scale extension with the Pistons prior to opening night.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Pacers swingman Tyreke Evans admits it’s been a roller-coaster season for him, Scott Agness of The Athletic reports. Evans has battled injuries, a bout with food poisoning and the tragic death of a nephew during the course of the season. Evans’ playing time has dropped dramatically from last season, when he averaged 19.4 PPG for Memphis in 52 games. He’ll return to the free agent market after signing a one-year, $12.4MM contract from Indiana. “Yeah, it’s tough,” he told Agness. “Everybody knows what type of player I am. (Since) I got drafted, I’m better with the ball in my hands. I’m a team player and just want to win this late in my career.”
  • D’Angelo Russell‘s breakthrough season with the Nets after the Lakers gave up on him illustrates why the Pistons explored trades for young point guards Dennis Smith Jr. and Markelle Fultz prior to the trade deadline, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. The Pistons will likely continue to pursue a young point guard during the offseason, since starter Reggie Jackson has one more season left on his contract and reserves Ish Smith and Jose Calderon will be unrestricted free agents, Ellis adds.
  • Forward Cedi Osman is considered part of the Cavaliers’ future core, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports in his latest mailbag. The team could sign Osman to an extension this summer but there hasn’t been any talk of doing that yet, Fedor continues. However, he’s a front-office favorite and has made positive strides in recent months. He’s shown signs of being more than just a bench rotation player and his 3-point shooting has improved, Fedor adds.

Central Notes: Porter, R. Lopez, Bucks, Evans

The Bulls traded for Otto Porter last month with the intention of making him a team leader, writes Michael Lee of The Athletic. VP John Paxson and GM Gar Forman made Porter’s role clear in their first meeting with him after the deal with Washington was complete.

“They said, ‘We want a bunch of high character guys to play for one another.’ It’s really rebuilding a culture here and they brought me here to be a part of that,” Porter said. “Of course, that just comes with experience. Coming from a situation where I can pass on things that I know, from experience, being with the Wizards, here. Because I’ve played in playoff games, played in playoff series and ultimately, that’s where we want to see ourselves — playing in the playoffs, being a top team in the East and making some noise.”

Porter has provided much more than leadership in the 15 games since arriving in Chicago. He has scored a career-best 17.5 PPG and is shooting a stunning .488 from 3-point range. He has already posted two 30-point games for the Bulls, which matches his career total in Washington.

“It’s a new opportunity for me to showcase my talent,” he said. “What I know I can do. And just go out there and have fun playing.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls opted to keep Robin Lopez, but it’s still uncertain if he’ll return next season, notes Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports. Chicago didn’t get any decent trade offers for Lopez prior to the deadline because teams were expecting a buyout. The Bulls would like to re-sign him in free agency, but Wendell Carter is their long-term center and Lopez may not want to settle for a back-up role. Chicago is paying Cristiano Felicio nearly $15.7MM over the next two seasons, and Lopez may demand more than that to return.
  • The Bucks get a little more breathing room under the luxury tax with Christian Wood being claimed off waivers by the Pelicans, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. With Wood’s $1,512,601 salary removed from its books, Milwaukee is now about $1.76MM away from tax territory, providing more cushion for late-season moves.
  • Tyreke Evans is hoping for a strong end to the season after having his best game since joining the Pacers, relays J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Evans, headed back to free agency after signing a one-year deal, credits the improvement to a meeting with coach Nate McMillan. “I need to be the aggressor,” Evans said. “I talked to him and I told him that’s the way I want to play. Put the ball in my hands and create. Put the pressure on the defense.”

Pacers’ Pritchard Talks Matthews, Roster, More

While Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard makes the final call on the team’s personnel moves, a pair of Indiana’s former heads of basketball operations remain very much in the loop, Pritchard tells Steve Aschburner of NBA.com.

According to Pritchard, he works with advisors Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird on a “daily basis.” Calling both men “true mentors,” Pritchard notes that Walsh is on the office every day, while Bird gets “very involved” in the summer and fall.

Within his conversation with Aschburner, Pritchard touched on a number of other subjects, discussing the Pacers’ approach to free agency, the excellent job head coach Nate McMillan has done with the club, and Victor Oladipo‘s rehab, among other topics. For Pacers fans, the conversation is worth reading in full, but here are a few highlights from the team’s president of basketball operations:

On the sales pitch that allowed the Pacers to land Wesley Matthews last month:

“He saw opportunity, right? We needed a starting two. And there was continuity with just knowing Nate and how he coaches, his style [Matthews and McMillan were together in Portland for a season and a half]. And from what he’s told us, he saw us, he played against us and he liked the way we play. But it became a recruiting process, for sure. He had a lot of options.”

On what the Pacers have gotten out of 2018’s free agent signees (Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott, and Kyle O’Quinn):

“They fit in nicely. They all made it clear that they wanted to come in, play a role and do it as well as they possibly could. Kyle is a great backup center, and we’ve asked him to be the third center. We’ve needed him, because Sabonis is going to be out for a little bit. McDermott, as he gets comfortable here and learns to seek out his offense, the better he’s going to be. And Tyreke, he’s had some ups and downs. But when he plays well, we’re a different team. We need that punch off the bench, and that’s something we focused on when he got him.”

On the impact of having so many free-agents-to-be on the roster:

“It’s good in that guys are pretty motivated. I’ve believed in this team. We’re going to be challenged in the playoffs and it will be fun watching them, but we’ve got to get there first. I don’t want to look too far in the future. We know we’re going to have some tough decisions this summer. But I believe 40% of the league will be free agents, so it’s not only our issue. It’s a league issue and an opportunity.”

On the Pacers’ long-standing aversion to tanking (Indiana hasn’t won fewer than 32 games in a season since 1988/89):

“You’ve got to give [team owner] Herb [Simon] a ton of credit. He’s not the kind of guy who says, ‘Let’s tank and look to the future in three years.’ We’re not about that. “

Central Notes: Oladipo, Pacers, Dunn, Bucks

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo knew right away that the injury he suffered tonight was significant, tweets Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. There are concerns that Oladipo may need surgery on his right knee that will keep him out for the rest of the season, but the team will await the results of an MRI tomorrow before making a decision.

“I just slipped and knew it was serious,” he told reporters after tonight’s game. “We’ll see what tomorrow shows and go from there. My teammates stepped up earlier this season and everyone has the utmost confidence going forward.”

Oladipo is Indiana’s top scorer at 19.2 points per game and leads the team in steals with 1.7 per night. He made the All-Star Game for the first time last season and was in contention for another trip this year.

“It’s tough watching our best player go down,” teammate Darren Collison said in a video tweeted by the Pacers. “Not just because he’s our best player but because he’s one of the best people to be around.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers have two weeks until the trade deadline to figure out how they want to proceed without Oladipo, writes Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Indiana is third in the East at 32-15 and making the playoffs shouldn’t be a concern, but Woo states that it’s hard to see the Pacers having any postseason success without Oladipo. He notes that they have roughly $59MM in expiring contracts in Collison, Tyreke Evans, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Cory Joseph and Kyle O’Quinn that could be moved for future assets if they decide to play for next season. Indiana will be in position to offer a max contract this summer, but Woo notes that the team’s bargaining power with free agents could be reduced if Oladipo’s rehab stretches into next season.
  • Bulls point guard Kris Dunn had extra motivation in his matchup with Hawks rookie Trae Young tonight, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Even though Chicago’s front office assured Dunn that he was the team’s point guard of the future, they brought in Young for a pre-draft workout and had legitimate interest in selecting him, Cowley writes. Dunn prevailed in the individual matchup, holding Young to a 1-for-12 shooting night, but Atlanta won the game.
  • Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers become a minority investor in the Bucks when he bought a 1% share of the team last year, but he tells Jim Owczarski of Packers News that he might be interested in expanding his role in the future. “When I’m done playing, there’s going to have to be something to fuel the competitive juices,” Rodgers said, “and being involved in sports would be great as long as it’s not commenting or maybe a GM. The ownership part seems a little more my speed and what I want to do when I retire from sports.”

Central Notes: Griffin, Thomas, Evans, Rose

Pistons coach Dwane Casey wants to reduce Blake Griffin‘s workload, as he told the Detroit Free Press. Griffin is averaging 35.9 minutes per game, the sixth-most for any player in the league. The former Clipper has missed significant time with injuries over the past four seasons but sat out only one game this season, when Casey decided to give him a night off. “We want to watch his minutes and the key is the first half,” Casey said. “Making sure we keep it at a certain level in the first half, that’s what I’ve done with most high minutes players or high usage players in the past.”

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Casey inserted rookie second-round pick Bruce Brown Jr. into the lineup against Washington on Wednesday. He would like to get his other rookie wing player, Khyri Thomas, some minutes as well. Thomas who was chosen four picks ahead of Brown and acquired in a draft-day deal with Philadelphia. He has made 43.2% of his 3-point attempts while averaging 19.9 points in seven games with the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive. “It’s up to me to get some growth out of these young guys,” Casey said.
  • Pacers guard Tyreke Evans received PRP injections for his sore right knee and he feels much better, as he told J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star and other media members. Evans had 19 points and five assists in 19 minutes against Atlanta on Wednesday after sitting out the previous two games. That was his highest point since he supplied 23 points against Miami in mid-November. Evans will be a free agent again after signing a one-year, $12MM deal with Indiana over the summer.
  • Derrick Rose could return to the Bulls in free agency, as he hinted to the media this week in comments relayed by Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. Rose has enjoyed a bounce-back season with the Timberwolves and will be an unrestricted FA after the season. “This is home for me. I’ll never leave Chicago,” Rose said. “I still have a place here, I’m always going to have a place here. … You never know in the future, you never know.” A Rose reunion would speed up the tempo of the Bulls’ offense and boost their perimeter shooting, Strotman notes.

Central Notes: Kennard, Krauskopf, Evans, Dunn

Luke Kennard may be the latest Pistons wing to play his way out of the starting small forward spot, as I noted in the Detroit Free Press. Kennard has scored just 24 points over the last six games after a 28-point outing in Philadelphia. The second-year swingman out of Duke was benched during the second half of a 98-95 home loss to Atlanta on Sunday. Stanley Johnson and Glenn Robinson III were also ineffective in that role. “There’s nothing maddening about it at all (but) you want that person to step in and produce,” coach Dwane Casey said of finding someone to fill that slot. “Give some production, whether it’s energy defensively, energy offensively, running the floor, cutting, just playing basketball. That’s what you’re searching for in that position.”

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard said that hiring Kelly Krauskopf as an assistant GM had nothing to do with making history, according to Dana Hunsinger Benbow of the Indianapolis Star. Krauskopf became the first women to hold that NBA front office position in a modern-day format in that she will be involved in personnel decisions. “It’s going to be made a big deal about (her being a woman) and the truth is she is just the best person for the job, period, end of discussion,” he said. “It doesn’t matter (her) gender, race, anything like that. She was the best person for the job.” Krauskopf spent 17 years as GM of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.
  • Pacers guard Tyreke Evans has missed the last two games due to knee soreness and will be a game-time decision against Atlanta on Wednesday. Evans explained to Scott Agness of The Athletic that he aggravated an old right knee injury when the Sixers’ Joel Embiid fell on him during a collision. Fluid built up and Evans, who had three operations on that knee in 2016, needed to have the knee drained.
  • Bulls point guard Kris Dunn has taken a bigger offensive role with Zach LaVine sidelined by an ankle injury, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Dunn is averaging 17.8 PPG and 6.0 APG over the last five games with LaVine out of commission. “Whatever gets the win. If I’ve got to be aggressive on the offensive side looking at the rim a little bit more or getting my guys involved,” he said. “I’m a pass-first point guard but it’s the NBA.”

Central Notes: Pistons, Boylen, Evans, Cavs

Don’t expect the Pistons to move either Andre Drummond or Reggie Jackson anytime soon, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes in a mailbag.

As Beard explains, Detroit views Drummond as a long-term core piece rather than a trade chip. And while Jackson may not be quite on that same level, he’s probably a more valuable asset to the Pistons than he would be to another team, according to Beard, who expects Detroit to “ride through Jackson’s contract.” Drummond and Jackson can both become free agents as early as 2020, though Drummond has a $28.75MM player option for 2020/21.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic takes an interesting, detailed look at how Jim Boylen has dove head-first into his new job as the Bulls‘ head coach this week, meeting individually with all his players after taking the reins from Fred Hoiberg.
  • As his first season with the Pacers progresses, Tyreke Evans continues to adjust to a new role and new expectations, as Mark Montieth of Pacers.com writes. Evans, who inked a one-year deal to play in Indiana, has been moved to the starting lineup during Victor Oladipo‘s absence but is still struggling to produce consistently.
  • Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson has been find $15K by the NBA for making an inappropriate gesture toward a fan earlier this week, the league announced today in a press release. Thompson flipped off some Brooklyn hecklers in the wake of the Cavs’ win over the Nets on Monday.
  • Speaking of that Cavaliers win over Brooklyn, head coach Larry Drew – who removed rookie Collin Sexton from the lineup down the stretch in that game – explained later that he doesn’t believe sitting Sexton in situations like that will stunt the youngster’s development. “You can learn just as much sitting over there watching, so you can kind of get a feel and see what other guys are doing,” Drew said, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “But it’s a long season and we’re going to be in a lot of different situations where he’s going to be allowed to experience some of this stuff.”

Central Notes: Evans, Thompson, Bulls

Still in the early stages of his first season with the Pacers, Tyreke Evans continues to find his groove and fit on the team. Evans posted his best game of the season in Indiana’s win on Friday, and has said that he is continuing to adjust to the offense and will look to be more assertive moving forward.

Signed this past offseason on a one-year deal, Evans serves as the Pacers’ sixth man, providing capable shooting and ball-handling in bench units. So far this season, Evans is averaging 11.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while knocking down 40 percent of his 3-pointers and playing 20.3 minutes per game.

The Pacers will continue to need Evans to step up alongside Victor Oladipo as they look to navigate the top of the Eastern Conference and cement themselves as true playoff contenders.

There’s more from the Central division:

  • With the Cavaliers suffering a slow start due to injuries and inconsistent play from many key rotational players, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic writes that amidst a career year, Tristan Thompson has also taken on a new role as a leader of the team, which is something the Cavaliers didn’t have when LeBron James left in 2010.
  • As the Bulls continue to struggle with injuries and inconsistent play, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago points out that the team is exactly where it should be given the injuries to some of its best players and the club’s primary focus on rebuilding and player development.
  • A recent Central Rumors post highlights Robin Lopez receiving more playing time to boost his trade value and provides updates on the injuries to Luke Kennard and John Henson.