Jan 10, 2013, 12:54 PM EST
Figuring out what the Sacramento Kings are going to do approaching the trade deadline is about like what was going on in any 1990s David Lynch movie (“Lost Highway,” “Inland Empire,” take your pick). It’s futile.
The team is in the middle of sale talks that could move them to Seattle and whatever happens they are being led by a lame duck GM and likely coach. About the only thing that seems to consistently come out of there is that they are not trading DeMarcus Cousins. So stop asking.
In terms of movable assets, salary cap considerations, and shaking up the roster, that means the next man up is Evans. Having passed last fall on offering an extension, the Kings next summer can tender a one-year, $6.9 million qualifying offer that would make their fourth-year veteran a restricted free agent….
The Memphis Grizzlies, who are aggressively attempting to shed payroll and are shopping small forward Rudy Gay, have made inquiries. The Lakers and Denver Nuggets have long been intrigued. So have the Boston Celtics.
Evans seems more comfortable at the two guard, where the Kings are playing him more this season (after having him a the one and the three the previous seasons). Some of the teams on the list above could use a two, but he doesn’t bring the outside shooting that teams like Memphis or Los Angeles need.
There are a few things that could get in the way of any Evans trade. For one, Evans will be a restricted free agent next summer so teams don’t want to give up a lot of assets for a guy they can just offer a deal to next July (the Kings could match any offer).
Then there is the health of his left knee. He has missed 16 of the last 20 Kings games with a sore knee, although neither team doctors nor a specialist found specific issues like bone chips or what have you. I don’t doubt he had knee pain, which leads to the question of why?
But Evans said he was being cautious about playing injured because he knows he’s a free agent next summer.
“Definitely,” he said, forcefully. “That’s why I sat out so many games. I wasn’t going to come back until I was ready, near 100 percent. You have to think about that. But the knee feels good now, it doesn’t hurt. I just want to get back out there and start playing like I can.”
We’ll see if the Kings move Evans. Wherever he lands will be a better organizational situation for him than what he is leaving in Sacramento.
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