March 31, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans (13) prepares to attempt a shot in the lane against the New Jersey Nets in the fourth quarter at the Power Balance Pavilion. The Nets defeated the Kings 111-99. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
Last night, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder had given Power Forward Serge Ibaka a 4 year, $48 million extension. Now, aside from Blake Griffin, who has already been given a max extension, this makes Ibaka the first player on a 2009 rookie-scale contract to get an extension.
Going into the 2012-13 season, the Kings' Tyreke Evans is heading into the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. After Evans' spectacular rookie year, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Kings would be giving him a max extension when his contract came up for negotiation. The last couple of years have been very shaky for Tyreke though, with his sophomore campaign marred by a bout of plantar fasciitis and a new role with a new coach last season.
Ibaka's extension can potentially let us know the kind of deal Evans might command next summer. Big men are usually paid more than guards, unless the guard in question is spectacular. Even Javale McGee managed to pull in an $11 million a year contract this summer.
So where does this leave Evans? Right now, I don't think there is a question that Evans is probably not getting a max contract offer from either the Kings or anyone else. His Restricted status will also make it much more difficult for teams to get him if they do want him. Right now, I'd probably put Evans' potential contract around $10-12 million a year, if he just sustains what he's been doing. That's in line with the kind of contracts guys like Danilo Gallinari (4 year, $42 million), Rajon Rondo (5 year, $55 million), and Ben Gordon (5 year, $58 million) got in recent years.
Evans can really help himself with a great 4th year though. By showing improvement, and maybe getting more national attention (like say if the Kings win more than expected, with Evans being a big part of that), Evans could be once again looking at a max contract. Even if the Kings don't want to offer it, they may have their hands forced by other teams. Eric Gordon, for example, just signed a max contract offer sheet with Phoenix, which New Orleans matched. And that was for a guy in Gordon who has missed 34.3% of his team's games due to injuries.
Another consideration when thinking about a new contract for Evans will undoubtedly be what the other guards from the 2009 draft get. James Harden, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson and Jrue Holiday will all also be aiming for new contracts, and how much they get could serve a baseline for what Tyreke might get.
This will just be one of many sub-plots for the Kings this season, but a very important one.