PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

For the first time in his NBA career, Tyreke Evans will not wear a Kings uniform next season. He will head to New Orleans in a sign-and-trade.

Evans says he wanted to stay with Kings

Published: Saturday, Jul. 6, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 - 2:38 pm

Tyreke Evans said it still hasn't fully set in that at the start of his fifth NBA season he will not be a King.

His hope when free agency began July 1 was that he would reach an agreement to stay in Sacramento. Instead, Evans will head to New Orleans in a sign-and-trade on Wednesday, when the NBA moratorium on transactions is lifted.

"It's been interesting just going through the process figuring out what was going to happen," Evans said. "But at the end of the day, it was business. We (agent Arn Tellem and Evans' family) did what was best for my career. We definitely wanted to stay in Sac, but that didn't work out, so I have an opportunity to go to New Orleans."

Evans will sign a four-year contract worth $44 million, the sum New Orleans offered him as a restricted free agent, and be dealt to the Pelicans in a three-team trade that will bring point guard Greivis Vasquez to Sacramento.

Evans met with the Pelicans on Sunday night and the Kings the next day. But until Wednesday, he was not certain he'd wind up in New Orleans.

Evans already had scheduled his basketball camp for next week in Rocklin knowing he might not be a King.

Evans, however, said that wasn't an issue.

The free camp, next Thursday and Friday, serves underprivileged youths.

"I didn't really know if I was going to come back or not," Evans said. "New ownership, new coaches – things change. I really didn't know what was going on, but I was going to do the camp regardless."

One hundred and fifty campers are scheduled to attend the camp each day. Also, children and guardians who qualify will receive free eye exams and glasses.

The eye exams will be conducted in the VSP Mobile Eyes clinic.

The children at the camp were selected through the Treat'em Like a King Foundation in Sacramento and other local community organizations. Former King Harold Pressley founded the TLK Foundation in 1996. It assists underprivileged children and their families.

Campers will receive school supplies donated by the TLK Foundation.

Evans said his camp is one reason he'll always be connected to the community.

"I love Sacramento fans," Evans said. "At the end of the day, it's about the kids, and I'd love to come back and do the camp."

Evans won the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year award after averaging 20.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists while playing primarily point guard.

But his averages decreased in each category over the next three seasons. Contributing to the decline were coaching changes, injuries and position changes.

Evans averaged 15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season. He shot 47.8 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from three-point range, both career highs.

Evans said the Pelicans emphasized that he was their top priority.

The 6-foot-6 Evans could be used off the bench with New Orleans behind All-Star Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon.

But he's ready to embrace any role with the Pelicans.

"I'm about winning," Evans said. "I'd love to start, but if that's what it takes – for me to come off the bench to help the team, come in the game and be that energy guy on the floor, kind of like the Spurs do (with Manu Ginobili) – I have no problem with that."

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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