Evans' production has declined since he won the Rookie of the Year award for the 2009-10 season while playing point guard, and sources said he's disenchanted with the Kings after being moved to small forward last season. Evans, who is eligible for an extension this summer but is instead headed for restricted free agency next summer, wants to return to a ball-dominant role and has informed the team that he no longer wants to play small forward.
This news hardly comes as a surprise, but it adds to the growing uncertainty in Sacramento. The Kings can keep Evans, let him test restricted free agency next summer, and decide whether to match an offer or let Tyreke walk for nothing. As unlikely as it seems that the Kings would open the coffers (cue single moth flying out of empty coffer), allowing the market to set the price for Evans could be the prudent approach.
The team can attempt to play Tyreke at shooting guard with Thornton coming off the bench (or vice versa, although that seems like it would alienate Tyreke further), or the team can tell Tyreke tough noogies and keep playing him at small forward, or the team can attempt to trade Tyreke.
Personally, I've resigned myself to the idea that Reke will be traded, and that I will be unhappy with whatever is received in return. Call it pessimism or call it a survival instinct, it's what made this morning's rumor seem realistic even as it was undesirable.
As Tyreke continues to struggle to find his role on this team and as his name continues to be floated in rumors, we will undoubtedly begin to see a lack of faith in him. Not just from the organization, but in our ranks as fans. Some are already there. Some will convert. It's bound to happen.
I will continue to be a fan of Tyreke. I will continue to hope for the day when the Kings figure out how to best use his talents. I will continue to hope Tyreke develops a reliable mid-range jumper. I will continue to hope for the best.
But, "I'm hopeful rather than confident."