According to numerous reports, the New Orleans Pelicans and Tyreke Evans have reached a verbal agreement. Unfortunately for those of you who like closure, this is the beginning, not the end.
The two sides have agreed verbally, but during this moratorium period, nothing can actually be signed until July 10th. Once Evans signs the offer sheet, the Kings have 72 hours to match the offer. It sounds extremely simple, but there are numerous ways this can work out and some steps the Pelicans must take before July 10th. To clear up any and all confusion, let’s look at them all right now.
Step One: Clear Cap Space
The Pelicans are 5.86 million dollars under the Cap as of right now, not including Holiday’s incentives, which are a little more than 1 million dallars per year. They must have a little over 10 million dollars in cap space on July 10th in order to extend the offer sheet that they have agreed to with Tyreke Evans. So, approximately 6 million dollars must be cleared. Easiest way to get there? Trade Lopez and receive no money back in the trade. Then release the holds for ALL 4 remaining nonguaranteed players: Terrel Harris, Brian Roberts, Darius Miller, and Lance Thomas. If the Pelicans do that, they can give Evans the 4 year, 44 million dollar deal, chewing up all their Cap Space but leaving the Room Exception to sign a small forward or a center. They would have Greivis Vasquez to trade for the other piece.
Now, the Pelicans can work out a sign and trade with the Kings for Evans (more on that later), but one way or the other, they need to to clear 6 million in order to extend the offer they verbally agreed to. Even if the Kings come out publicly and announce they will match tomorrow, the Pelicans must hold true to their word. This is a dangerous game Dell is playing. He could lose Lopez and more, getting nothing in return if the Kings decide to match the offer sheet.
Step Two: Tyreke Evans Signs the Offer Sheet on the 10th
This one is simple, but if this happens, a couple of options come off the table. For one, the Kings and Pelicans can not work out a sign and trade once Tyreke signs his name. Either the Kings match or they don’t. And if they do, they can not trade Evans to the Pelicans for one year.
The Kings and the Pelicans can work out a sign and trade between now and then, however. Then, the Kings would sign Tyreke Evans to the same deal that Evans and the Pelicans agreed to, and Evans would be traded here for whatever those two teams agree upon. Again, the Pelicans will have to have their books in order to make the trade.
Step Three: Kings Make A Decision
Really the Kings have three options:
1. Refuse to Match the Offer - The Pelicans have reportedly put some things in the deal to deter the Kings from matching. If I had to guess, they probably put a large trade kicker in there and could have even put a player option in the 4th year. If the Kings believe Ben McLemore gives them similar things on the court and he is much cheaper, you can see them going this route, though I think this is the least likely route.
2. Match the Offer - Hard to let a 23 year old former Rookie of the Year go if you are a new owner trying to win back fans. They can match and look to trade him in the future if McLemore becomes the star some people think he can be. The question is: If the Kings don’t match, what else are they going to do with that money? If the answer is nothing, why not match?
3. Sign and Trade - For my money, this is the most likely option. The Kings might not think Evans is worth the $11 million, but you can’t let him go for nothing, They could ask for Vasquez, Lopez, or even Austin Rivers. If you are Dell and the Kings tell you that they will match if you don’t give them an asset or two, what do you do? You gotta trade Lopez anyway just do extend that offer sheet, so you lose him AND you lose Tyreke if you don’t play ball. If betting were legal, this would be the way I would bet this whole thing plays out.
Kings have all the power here and Dell has put himself in a position where he is at their mercy. It is a high risk, high reward proposition. If the two teams agree to a sign and trade soon, we might know how this all plays out within the next few days. Or we might not know anything until July 13th.
And so, we wait.