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The One Question I Need Answered by Tyreke Evans

Published: July 3, 2013

The last 72 hours have been nerve wrecking. First, we hear that our sights are set on Andre Iguodala, then the news comes out that Dell will be meeting with Tyreke Evans at 12:01 on the first day of free agency. The rumor was that he had a huge offer in hand. Reports of the offer went from 40 million to 44 to 48 in a matter of minutes. The capologists ran the numbers and determined that Lopez would have to be moved. From there even more speculation started.

Would Gordon be moved? Was Tyreke being brought in as our shooting guard, our small forward, or a super sub in the mold of Manu Ginobli? And perhaps the biggest question was: Will the Kings match and/or will any team beat the Pelicans offer? The path seemed to be cleared when the Kings made a strong play for Andre Iguodala, but then they pulled that offer just hours later. Did I miss anything? Probably a ton, actually, but you get the point.

There is so much going on here and you have no idea what is true and what is posturing from teams and agents. And while I would ask Tyreke Evans a ton of questions if I could, only one really matters:

Would you do whatever it takes to win?

It sounds simple, but to me, his truthful answer would tell me everything. I must admit that hearing that he would prefer to stay in Sacramento bothers me a little bit. Not because I have seen us burned by players not wanting to be here, but because it makes me question what his priorities really are at this point of his career. Sacramento has been, almost without question, the most dysfunctional franchise in the NBA since Evans came into the league. They have won just 99 games in the four years that Evans has been in the league, and they are already on their third coach in that span, and their 5th in the last 5 seasons.

If Evans primary objective was to win basketball games, how could he not want out? One team chasing after him at 12:01 features three possible Team USA members, a newly acquired All-Star point guard, and stability at head coach and in the front office. Oh, and they also believe in him enough to offer him eight figures without hesitating, while his current team is busy wining and dining other free agents.

From afar, it clearly seems to me that his one hang up is that Dell Demps has a desire to bring him off the bench in a role similar to not only Manu Ginobli, but James Harden back in OKC – you know the last team that stole some philosophies from the Spurs model. That role comes with reduced minutes (Manu averaged between 28 and 31 in his prime, while Evans has averaged 35 in his young career) and likely reduced shots as well (Evans has averaged 15 per game, Harden got a little under 12 in OKC).

Is Evans the kind of guy who is secretly happier when he scores 40 and loses than when he scores 6 and wins? I don’t know, but I have the sneaking suspicion that he might be. And if he is, then honestly, I want nothing to do with him. But if I inject him with truth serum and he gives me the answer I want to hear; that he is willing to sacrifice for the good of the team, that he will trust his coach to put him in a position to succeed, and that he will forgo personal glory for the chance to be a winner for the first time in his professional career, then I am all in.

I would be willing to increase the offer if that was what it took to make him feel more comfortable leaving the city where he purchased his first home and/or that guaranteed that the Kings would not match. I would be willing to sacrifice Vasquez in a sign and trade as well if the Kings wanted additional incentive. Whatever it takes if he answers that question the way I want it answered, because I believe in his skill set.

But if shots and minutes are more important to him or if he would rather be comfortable and mediocre than step out of his comfort zone for the chance at greatness, I got no time for this saga. It would be time to move on with no hard feelings. But that one question needs to be asked, and I’m dying to know the answer.


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