It seems that the New Orleans Pelicans aren’t planning on looking at the NBA playoffs as outsiders for long, and hope to sign Tyreke Evans, a restricted free agent, on an offer sheet that Sacramento Kings won’t be able to match.
The Pelicans have added Jrue Holiday in to what now has become quite a crowded backcourt (with Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon and Greivis Vasquez), but they’re not done making improvements. Tyreke Evans may not be the 20-5-5 guy he was during his rookie season, and might be that teams aren’t sure what’s his best position (Still!), yet there’s no doubt he his versatile, talented and can put points on the board, averaging 15.2 points per game last season and 17.5 through his NBA career.
How do the Pelicans pull this off? According to ShamSports.com, they’re currently over the cap-space, but by not re-signing Al-Farouq Aminu ($3,749,602 of additional cap space), Xavier Henry ($3,201,370), Louis Amundson ($884,293) and Roger Mason ($884,293) and waiving players with partially un-guaranteed contracts Robin Lopez ($4,619,761), Lance Thomas ($884,293), Darius Miller($788,872), Brian Roberts ( $788,872) and Terrel Harris, they can clear quite a lot of cap space.
There are limitations as to how much players you can get rid of, and more than four players released result in a cap hold of $490,180 (equal to the minimum salary) would be subtracted from their cap space for each additional player renounced or waived.
That gives them, more or less, $11 million a season (or at least next one), to offer Tyreke Evans, something the confused an in constant rebuild/turmoil Kings aren’t likely to match. The Kings have a lot of players they’re not sure what to do with, and with the Pelicans making a move for one of those guys they’re not so sure of, matching the offer doesn’t seem like a popular possibility.
With Evans’ addition, a trade for Eric Gordon (if someone would be willing to take his contract) or Austin Rivers is definitely possible. Evans does make for an intriguing possibility of a three-man backcourt, with him occupying the small forward position most likely, but there’s a very good chance it becomes too crowded for everyone’s good with him on board, triggering a trade.