SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Tyreke Evans took the first step toward becoming a former King on Wednesday night by agreeing to an offer sheet with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to sources.
Evans, a restricted free agent, intends to sign the four-year, $44 million offer sheet when teams are allowed to sign players July 10. The Kings would have three days to match the offer or lose Evans.
Sources said the Kings believed Evans’ price range was $8 million to $9 million annually, significantly below New Orleans’ offer. For him to not agree to the Pelicans’ offer, Evans was seeking a deal starting at $12 million per year.
Now the Kings have to decide whether to make Evans their highest-paid player by matching the offer.
The Kings still can negotiate a sign-and-trade with New Orleans, with point guard Greivis Vasquez and center Robin Lopez believed to the Pelicans most likely to be dealt.
While waiting for a proposal from the Kings, Evans saw them make a four-year, $52 million offer to free agent Andre Iguodala. The Kings pulled the offer late Tuesday night and did not offer a new deal to Evans.
Evans wasn’t the Kings’ top priority because they were focused on Iguodala, one of the league’s most versatile defenders, to fill their void at small forward.
The Kings met with Iguodala and his representatives Monday, the same day they met with Evans. But by late Tuesday night, Iguodala had not committed to playing for the Kings, so they withdrew the offer.
The Kings didn’t want to keep the offer on the table if Iguodala was lukewarm about playing for them or hoping to use the offer to leverage a better deal from another team.
Giving up their pursuit of Iguodala, however, did not mean the Kings would offer a similar deal to Evans.
Evans is a restricted free agent because the Kings submitted a one-year qualifying offer worth $6.9 million last week. Rather than make Evans an offer, the Kings allowed him to gauge his worth on the open market.
The Pelicans were the first team to meet with Evans shortly after free agency started Sunday night and made their offer.
Evans also met with the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. But Pelicans general manager Dell Demps was aggressive, and coach Monty Williams let Evans know how important he was to the team’s future.
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