Pelicans acquire Tyreke Evans in trade with Kings

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com

No one can accuse the Pelicans of sitting on their hands and not trying to quickly turn things around.

Just a week after trading their first-round pick in this year's draft, Nerlens Noel, to the 76ers for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, New Orleans has pulled the trigger on a trade that will net them another budding young star in Tyreke Evans.

Evans is a rangy 6-foot-6 small forward that averaged 15 points, four rebounds, four assists and almost two steals a game last year in Sacramento. In 2010, he was the NBA Rookie of the Year.

The trade that brought Evans to the Big Easy was a three-team deal that involved the Pelicans, Kings and Trail Blazers.

In exchange for Evans, the Pelicans sent Greivis Vasquez to Sacramento and Robin Lopez and Terrel Harris to the Blazers. In addition to getting Evans from the Kings, New Orleans also got second-round pick from Kansas Jeff Withey and a future second-round pick from Portland.

Withey was a center back in Lawrence. In leading Kansas to the Sweet 16, the big man was a defensive force inside--blocking four shots a game. In three NCAA Tournament contests, he blocked 17 shots.

It has been all about reloading and filling in needs for the Pelicans this offseason.

Their No. 1 priority was securing a true point guard. They haven't had one since Chris Paul left for L.A.

With the trade that sent Paul to the Clippers, New Orleans got Eric Gordon in return, but Gordon has always been more of a two-guard. Either way, he was depended upon to be point guard, but he has had an injury-pleagued two years in New Orleans.

Due to him missing the 2012 season and most of this past season with injuries, the Pelicans were forced to look elsewhere when it came to the point.

Vasquez had to make the position change despite being a true small forward at 6-foot-6. He took to the move better than expected--averaging 14 points and nine assists per game.

Now with the trade, he will be headed to Sacramento while Evans comes to New Orleans to take over the vacant small forward spot.

The All-Star Holiday will run the point, and Gordon can now go to playing his natural position at shooting guard.

The newest moves also look to help the Pelicans in a big way when it comes to defense--where they ranked almost dead-last.

Evans has proven to be a good perimeter defender and on the inside, last year's No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis is always a shot-blocking threat if he can stay healthy this season.

Withey isn't very athletic, so he won't be looked upon to score as a rookie even though he averaged 14 a game this past season at Kansas. However, he can certainly help New Orleans out on defense and on the boards.

In addition to blocking four shots a game this year, the seven-footer grabbed nine rebounds per contests.

In their first year with the "Pelicans" nickname, New Orleans will be trying to improve on a very disappointing 27-55 record.