As Tyreke Evans mulls whether to give a verbal commitment to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Kings have to decide if he is worth the price New Orleans has set to sign him.
Evans is leaning toward giving a verbal commitment to the Pelicans, who have offered the restricted free agent a four-year, $44 million deal, said sources familiar with the negotiations. He could commit to New Orleans today.
Evans had hoped Sacramento would offer at least $48 million over four years. But he isn't likely to receive that because the Kings believe that is above his market value.
The Kings appeared to shift their focus to small forward Andre Iguodala, 29, with a deal worth a reported $56 million over four years. But reports surfaced late Tuesday night the Kings had pulled the offer.
Evans, meanwhile, is ready to join New Orleans after feeling as if he hasn't been a priority for the Kings. That would change should the Kings make him a bigger offer today.
Per league rules, Evans cannot sign an offer sheet until July 10. The Kings were almost certain not to match the offer to Evans had they struck a deal with Iguodala.
Sources said Evans was told the Kings believed his salary range would be $8 million to $9 million per season.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans made it clear Evans was their top target by meeting with him shortly after free agency started Sunday night.
Evans, the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year, is viewed by many around the league as an intriguing talent, even though his scoring average has decreased every season.
His averages of 15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 31 minutes last season were all career lows.
Evans' departure seemingly would be easier for the Kings to bear after they drafted shooting guard Ben McLemore and point guard Ray McCallum last week.
Evans recently purchased a home in Rocklin and would not be against staying with Sacramento. But without an offer topping the New Orleans deal, Evans is ready to join the Pelicans, who have collected a lot of young talent through the draft and trades.
No longer pursuing Iguodala is a surprise, given he was the Kings' top target in free agency. But the Kings reportedly wanted a commitment, and Iguodala wasn't ready to give one.
Iguodala tweeted "Wow" minutes before the news of the pulled offer broke.
Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive, general manager Pete D'Alessandro and coach Michael Malone met with Iguodala and his representatives in Los Angeles on Monday, when they also met with Evans.
Small forward is an area of need for the Kings, and Iguodala is considered the best available in free agency. D'Alessandro was part of the Denver front office that traded for Iguodala from Philadelphia last summer.
Last season, Iguodala averaged 13 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists, and he is considered one of the NBA's premier defenders. The Kings allowed a league-worst 105.1 points per game last season, and improving the defense is a top priority of Malone's.
The Kings also met with veteran point guard Jose Calderon on Tuesday in Sacramento. Calderon, 31, averaged 11.3 points and 7.1 assists with Toronto and Detroit last season.
Calderon is reportedly still coveted by the Pistons, who acquired him in January in a three-team trade that sent Rudy Gay from Memphis to Toronto and Tayshaun Prince from Detroit to Memphis.