Instant Analysis: Pelicans-Blazers-Kings Trade
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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The Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings agreed to a three-way trade on Thursday that will see Tyreke Evans sign-and-traded to the Pelicans, Greivis Vasquez and two second-round picks to the Sacramento Kings and Robin Lopez and Terrel Harris to the Trail Blazers. The Trail Blazers are also reported to be sending out future draft considerations and cash.
The deal cannot become official until after the league’s moratorium period comes to a close. It ends on July 10, but Evans’ restricted free agency status could delay the trade until another day or two after. Technically, the Kings have three days to decide whether or not they want to match the Pelicans’ four-year, $44 million offer sheet.
Evans’ was the top priority for the Pelicans in free agency. Evans originally voiced his desire to stay in Sacramento and while his meeting with the team was positive, they ultimately decided that they wanted to go in another direction. They made a four-year, $52 million offer to Andre Igudoala, but they quickly took it off the table when he seemed unsure about accepting. Still, they weren’t ready to match the Pelicans’ offer for Evans, who will join a backcourt that already features All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and shooting guard Eric Gordon. The trio could see time on the floor together if Pelicans head coach Monty Williams wants to play small ball.
This is another aggressive move by Pelicans general manager Dell Demps in attempt to make the Pelicans a playoff team just two season after losing All-Star point guard Chris Paul.
Vasquez gives the Kings a pass-first point guard who is coming off of a career-best year in 2012-13 in which he averaged nearly 14 points and nine assists. The starting job is his to lose with Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette serving as his competition. Vasquez will be auditioning for a new contract as he has a $3.2 million qualifying offer for the 2014-15 season.
The Blazers, by helping facilitate this deal, add some much-needed experience at the center position with Lopez. Lopez’s contract has just over two years and $10 million remaining on it. He could have been bought out for just $500,000 this week, but to help complete this trade the next two years will become fully guaranteed. They showed early interest in Spurs free agent center Tiago Splitter, but he re-signed with the team for four years and $36 million.