NBA free agency update: Pelicans reportedly offer $44 million contract to Tyreke Evans; teams begin lining up for Andre Iguodala
|07.02.13 at 12:14 pm ET|
The New Orleans Pelicans rebranded themselves by changing their mascot this season, and they are starting to do it in terms of their personnel this offseason.
The Pelicans strengthened their backcourt on draft day by dealing for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. Now, they are making an aggressive move for another guard, as they offered a four-year contract worth as much as $44 million to restricted free agent Tyreke Evans, according to USA Today.
Evans averaged 15.2 points, 3.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game in 65 games with Sacramento last season. His production has declined each year since he won Rookie of the Year in 2009-10 — a season in which he averaged 20.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds.
The Kings have the right to match any offer sheet that Evans signs before the league lifts its moratorium on July 10. Evans has already visited with the Pistons and has a meeting scheduled with the Hawks soon.
If the Pelicans do sign Evans, the question will be how they will use him. Holiday is coming off an All-Star season and Eric Gordon averaged 17 points per game last season. The Pelicans also drafted Austin Rivers with the No. 10 pick of the 2012 draft, and he averaged 6.2 points and 2.1 assists per game last season.
Evans — who started his career as a point guard before shifting over to shooting guard — played some small forward last season. However, Evans has resisted playing small forward in the past and would raise questions on how the guard rotation would work.
For the Pelicans to be able to afford Evans’ contract — which they priced so high that the Kings likely would not match the deal — New Orleans would try to unload Robin Lopez’s contract according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. Lopez is set to make around $5.1 million in 2013-14.
If the Kings lose Evans to the Pelicans, they are already on making plans to find his replacement. The Kings met with free agent Andre Iguodala on Monday, adding to the list of teams trying to bring in the forward. Iguodala also is being targeted by the Pistons and his team from last season, the Nuggets, according to Slam Online.
Iguodala is not the only star player the Pistons are looking to add, as they are pursuing Hawks forward Josh Smith. Detroit has met with Smith, according to USA Today, but has not yet offered him a contract. Smith will meet with the Hawks on Tuesday.
The first domino fell in NBA free agency Monday when Chris Paul agreed to a five-year, $107 million contract extension with the Clippers. According to ESPN, Paul had considered moving to Atlanta with Dwight Howard but decided to remain in Los Angeles with new coach Doc Rivers.
The Clippers likely are not done making moves this offseason, as they reportedly are going after free agents J.J. Redick and O.J. Mayo. According to Wojnarowski, Redick dined with Rivers Monday night, and a sign-and-trade possibility for Redick is “alive but still a longshot.”
Howard met with his hometown Hawks on Monday afternoon and the Warriors on Monday night before meeting with the Lakers on Tuesday. However, the Rockets are confident with their pitch and have made Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin available in trades, according to CBS Sports. Howard received some extra encouragement to go to Houston on Monday from rapper Slim Thug via Twitter.
The Knicks responded to the Nets’ trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce by agreeing to acquire forward Andrea Bargnani from the Raptors on Monday. New York might not be done making moves this offseason, as the Knicks could be looking to add high-scoring guard Monta Ellis. While the Knicks appear unlikely to acquire Ellis due to financial restrictions, Slam Online named the Knicks as one of five teams that have are considering signing the 27-year-old. The Bulls, Spurs, Nuggets and Suns also have expressed interest.
The Nets kept a key bench player in Andray Blatche, as he signed a one-year, $1.4 million contract extension with Brooklyn to be Garnett’s backup. Blatche averaged 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds off the bench for Brooklyn last season and had said in May that he was open to taking less money to stay in Brooklyn. He still is owed more than $16 million over the next two seasons from the Wizards.
Backup point guard C.J. Watson signed a two-year deal with the Pacers on Monday. Watson tweeted “keep up with the pace” Monday, indicating his choice to move to Indiana. Watson played 80 games for the Nets last season and averaged 6.8 points and 2.0 assists in 19.0 minutes per game.
While Kevin Durant is not a free agent this season — his contract expires after the 2015-16 season — Durant ensured Thunder fans in an interview with The Oklahoman that his decision to hire Jay-Z as his agent is not a sign that he is looking to leave Oklahoma City.
“He has nothing to do with if I’m going to leave OKC or none of that,” Durant said. “I heard that before, so put that out on the table. He has nothing to do with that. He knows his lane with me.”
Free agent small forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. signed a two-year deal worth $6 million with the Bulls on Tuesday, choosing Chicago over the Rockets, Mavericks, Lakers and Timberwolves, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. The 32-year-old averaged 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per game last season with the Bucks.
Nazr Mohammed announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he will re-sign with the Bulls. According to Comcast Sports reporter Aggrey Sam, Mohammed’s deal will be a one-year contract worth the veteran minimum. Mohammed, who will be playing his 16th season in the NBA, averaged 2.6 points and 3.1 rebounds in 11.0 minutes per game last season.
Center Al Jefferson will meet with the Bobcats on Tuesday as Charlotte will look to make him its starting center, according to Wojnarowski. Jefferson averaged 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds for the Jazz last season. The Bobcats also are looking to re-sign Gerald Henderson and Josh McRoberts.
If Jefferson, a former Celtic, leaves the Jazz, they likely will push even harder to sign Paul Millsap. Millsap and the Jazz met immediately after free agency opened and the Jazz reportedly have “high interest” in signing Millsap, but have not made an offer yet. Millsap has declined slightly since his best season in 2010-11, and averaged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game last season.
Another former Celtic — Tony Allen — has several teams interested in him as a free agent, according to ESPN reporter Ramona Shelburne. The Bucks, Nuggets and Grizzlies are the teams that have been most interested in him, according to Shelburne. Allen averaged 8.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 26.7 minutes per game last season.
The Lakers reportedly contacted former 76ers shooting guard Nick Young after free agency opened. Young averaged 10.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 23.9 minutes per game last season.
Former Celtics forward and current Celtics analyst Brian Scalabrine has had conversations about becoming an assistant coach with the Bulls. Scalabrine spent the final two seasons of his playing career with Chicago.
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