Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Tyreke Evans averaged a career-low 15.2 points last season but recorded career highs in field-goal and three-point percentages.

Kings meet with Evans after he gets offer from Pelicans

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 2, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2013 - 7:51 am

After introducing the Kings' two newest players to local reporters, the team's brass headed to Los Angeles to join the free-agency frenzy.

Principal owner Vivek Ranadive, general manager Pete D'Alessandro and coach Michael Malone quickly exited Monday's news conference for rookie guards Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum to meet with restricted free agent Tyreke Evans, who soon could leave Sacramento for a lucrative contract.

The Kings also met Monday with prized small forward Andre Iguodala.

Sunday night, the New Orleans Pelicans met with Evans in Los Angeles and presented an offer sheet for four years worth at least $44 million, said a source familiar with the negotiations.

The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.

Restricted free agents cannot sign any team's offer sheet before July 10.

The Kings could match the Pelicans' offer to Evans or try to work out a sign-and-trade deal with New Orleans. Pelicans point guard Greivis Vasquez and center Robin Lopez could be parts of a trade.

If Evans signs the offer sheet on July 10, the Kings will have three days to match the offer or lose Evans without compensation.

Evans was seeking a multiyear offer from the Kings. But before meeting with Sacramento officials Monday, he had received only a one-year, $6.9 million qualifying offer from the Kings.

Evans' scoring has declined each season since he won the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year award. He has gone from playing point guard to small forward to shooting guard.

Last season, playing primarily shooting guard, Evans averaged 15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 31 minutes per game, all career lows. He did post career highs in field-goal (47.8) and three-point (33.8) percentage.

But Evans sought at least $10 million annually in a deal similar to others from his 2009 draft class, such as the Warriors' Stephen Curry.

The Pelicans view Evans as a combo guard and reportedly would make him their prized sixth man, a role he likely would not accept in Sacramento. In New Orleans, Evans would be grouped with recently acquired All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and shooting guard Eric Gordon.

After meeting with the Detroit Pistons, Evans met with the Kings on Monday. He will continue to meet with other teams, and a session is scheduled today with the Atlanta Hawks.

Evans was put off by the Kings' decision not to offer him a multiyear contract before free agency began Sunday night, which allowed him to field offers. Evans, according to the source, was left to wonder where he stood in the eyes of the Kings' new ownership, management and Malone.

Ranadive's first call – after the sale of the Kings was approved – was to center DeMarcus Cousins, not Evans, which essentially let him know where he stood within the franchise.

It wasn't that Evans wasn't important, but Malone pointed out when he was hired that Cousins was the player who should be the "cornerstone" of the team.

The Pelicans, however, made it clear Evans was a priority by meeting with him shortly after free agency officially began Sunday night.

It's unlikely the Kings would match such a huge offer to Evans, especially after they drafted two guards last week.

The team's biggest need remains at small forward, where the Kings have struggled for years to find consistency, and Iguodala would be a welcome addition.

Iguodala, 29, averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists last season with the Denver Nuggets. In addition to those impressive numbers, he is considered one of the premier perimeter defenders in the NBA.

The question is how much the Kings would offer to a wing who turns 30 in January. Iguodala opted out of a contract that would have paid him $16 million next season.

D'Alessandro wants to be aggressive in upgrading the Kings but does not want to overbid on a player early in free agency.

The Kings also will actively pursue trades if a player such as Iguodala cannot be signed at a reasonable price.

Iguodala has several suitors, including New Orleans and Denver, which acquired him from the Philadelphia 76ers before the 2012-13 season.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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