News10's Sean Cunningham speaks with Tyreke Evans about leaving the Sacramento Kings.
ROCKLIN, CA - Almost three weeks ago, Kings guard Tyreke Evans moved into his new digs - a palatial estate inside a Rocklin gated community just outside of Sacramento.
But on Thursday, a day after agreeing to a four-year, $44 million offer sheet with New Orleans, the Kings traded their restricted free agent, to the Pelicans, thus choosing not to match the offer to keep him in Sacramento.
The Pelicans will receive the 23-year-old Evans in exchange for point guard Greivis Vasquez, who heads to Sacramento along with two second round picks from Portland, who acquired center Robin Lopez.
The three team sign-and-trade deal will not become official until July 10, when NBA free agents are allowed to sign with teams, but Evans will leave the only city he's known as a professional basketball player.
Knowing that the Kings wouldn't match the Pelicans offer was disappointing to Evans.
"I just wish them the best with the team they've got," Evans told News10's Sean Cunningham, inside his Rocklin home. "The Kings are always going to be in my heart, its where I started my career. It definitely was a sad time, knowing I'm going to leave, but at the end of the day, its a business.
"It's been an amazing four years with the Kings and the fans of Sacramento have been great," Evans said. "I love all the fans of Sacramento, I know a lot (of fans) are probably mad that I'm leaving, but at the end of the day, my heart will always be remembered as a King."
In those four seasons with the Kings, none were as electric as his rookie season in 2009-10. He became the first player since Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in their first NBA season, which helped pave the way to the league's Rookie of the Year award.
While he began his tenure with the Kings as a point guard, Evans was moved to the shooting guard and, ultimately to the small forward position throughout the last three seasons under head coaches Paul Westphal and Keith Smart.
In his final season with Sacramento, the Kings went 28-54, while Evans averaged 15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, in 65 games.
The Kings are now under new ownership and management as they head into the 2013-14 season. Owner Vivek Ranadive, General Manager Pete D'Alessandro and head coach Michael Malone met with Evans in Los Angeles on Tuesday. But it was the Pelicans, who were the first team to meet with him in the opening minutes of the free agency negotiating period, which opened up on Monday, July 1.
Evans will continue to host his free youth basketball camp in Sacramento. For the third straight summer, Evans has partnered with VSP Vision Care and this year's camp will take place July 11-12 at Rocklin's Hardwood Palace.
Campers will be treated to a basketball camp with Evans, as well as free vision testing with VSP. For more information about the camp, call (916) 295-4960.
By Sean Cunningham, SCunningham@News10.net