Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans is reportedly finalizing terms with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to ESPN's Marc Stein:
Earlier story clearly pointed in this direction, but just heard Pelicans & Tyreke Evans are indeed now in process of finalizing offer sheet— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2013
Jason Jones confirmed that this is likely in motion, as the Kings did not make an offer today as Tyreke's camp had requested:
As I reported earlier, Evans was giving the Kings until today to make an offer or he'd be agreeing on the offer sheet with the Pelicans.— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) July 4, 2013
Cowbell Kingdom had also reported this earlier today.
So now we panic, right? Well, not so fast.
There's still that whole "restricted" part of Tyreke's free agency. The Kings are free to match any offer Tyreke agrees to. If they like the terms of the deal the Pelicans are offering, they can simple wait for Tyreke to sign the deal and then match. In fact, there's no incentive not to.
Why not just make an identical offer? Well, matching that offer could trigger the Pelicans to raise their offer. Why drive up the bidding when you can simply match the offer on the table? (Boy, this feels awfully familiar, no?)
And if the Kings decide Evans isn't worth it? They still haven't lost out on anything. Tyreke can agree to terms with the Pelicans, but can't actually sign anything yet. Which is good. Once Tyreke signs an offer with another team, a sign-and-trade is out of the picture. But if he agrees to terms, well, that simply sets the terms of the sign-and-trade contract Tyreke would receive.
This is a negotiating tactic on the part of Tyreke and his camp. And it's perfectly fine. It's a negotiating tactic on the part of the Kings. And that's OK too. We have no idea what Vivek and Pete D are planning. But regardless of the path they take with this, not making a formal offer is likely a smart move.
Update: Sam Amick is confirming that Tyreke has made a verbal agreement with the Pelicans.
Tyreke Evans has given the New Orleans Pelicans a verbal agreement that he'll sign the four-year, $44 million offer sheet, I'm told.ESPN 1st— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 4, 2013
All it means, of course, is that he'll only stay with the Kings if they match. They have 3 days after free agency moratorium lifts July 10.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 4, 2013