Greivis Vasquez

Kings' acquisition of Vasquez becomes official

Published: Thursday, Jul. 11, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013 - 12:09 pm

LAS VEGAS – The remaking of the Kings' backcourt took another step Wednesday with the official announcement of the acquisition of point guard Greivis Vasquez from New Orleans as part of a three-team trade that included Portland.

The deal, agreed to last week, couldn't be official until the end of the NBA's moratorium on trades and free-agent signings.

"No matter who he plays with, he's going to make those guys better, and that's the sign of a great player," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "He's going to make all his teammates better and put them in position to succeed and have success. Greivis will do that for us."

The Kings sent Tyreke Evans, the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year, to the Pelicans in a sign-and-trade deal that gives Evans a four-year, $44 million contract. The Kings also received two second-round draft picks from the Trail Blazers, who also sent the draft rights to center Jeff Withey to New Orleans. The Trail Blazers received center Robin Lopez and guard Terrel Harris from New Orleans.

Vasquez, a first-round pick (28th overall) by Memphis in 2010, was traded to New Orleans before his second season. Last season, his first as a starter, he averaged career highs of 13.9 points and 9.0 assists, third in the NBA.

"We're excited to welcome Greivis to the team," Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro said in a statement. "He established himself as one of the league's most talented young point guards last season, and we're confident he'll continue this trajectory in Sacramento."

Vasquez, 6-foot-6 and 211 pounds, adds size in the backcourt that was lost with Evans' departure. The Kings believe Vasquez and 5-9 Isaiah Thomas give them options at point guard that will make it more difficult for opponents to prepare for them.

The Kings also expect Vasquez will improve the team's passing, which often was woeful last season.

Addressing the Kings' lack of ball movement was a priority for D'Alessandro. Last season, the Kings averaged 20.8 assists, 25th in the NBA, even though they looked to push the ball and play at a high-scoring pace.

The Kings last season assisted on 55.3 percent of their baskets, 29th in the league. The only team worse was New York, which has Carmelo Anthony, one of the NBA's best isolation players. Oklahoma City was 28th, but the Thunder has Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who can dominate in one-on-one play.

Vasquez had an impressive assist average even though shooting guard Eric Gordon missed much of the season because of knee problems and Anthony Davis, the first overall draft pick in 2012, was in and out of the lineup because of injuries.

The Kings made two other two transactions during the moratorium, but they have not been officially announced yet.

Free-agent forward Carl Landry agreed to a four-year, $26 million deal to return to the Kings after playing for Golden State last season. He was traded to New Orleans in 2011.

The Kings also agreed to acquire forward Luc Mbah a Moute from Milwaukee for two second-round draft picks.

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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