New Orleans, Portland and Sacramento have agreed to a three-team trade sending guard Tyreke Evans to the Pelicans, center Robin Lopez to the Trail Blazers and guard Greivis Vasquez to the Kings, people familiar with the deal said.
The people, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because NBA rules prevent confirmation of trades until July 10, say Portland is sending second-round draft pick Jeff Withey to New Orleans and a future draft pick to Sacramento as part of the deal, which was first reported by ESPN. The trade also sends guard Terrel Harris to Portland.
Evans, a former Rookie of the Year and restricted free agent, averaged 15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists with the Kings last season, his fourth. At 6-foot-6, he has demonstrated the versatility to play either guard position, or even small forward when matchups favor doing so.
The 7-foot Lopez, who was New Orleans’ starting center after arriving in a trade with Phoenix, averaged 11.3 points to go with 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks last season, all career highs in what was his fifth NBA season. The 6-6 Vasquez, who started at point guard, averaged career highs of 13.9 points and nine assists and was widely regarded as one of the most improved players in the NBA.
For New Orleans, the trade comes on the heels of a draft-day deal that sent sixth overall pick Nerlens Noel to Philadelphia in exchange for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. Because of Evans’ versatility, he could potentially become a key sixth man, backing up both Holiday or high-scoring shooting guard Eric Gordon as needed and giving all three players the minutes they command. That is, if the Pelicans decide not to trade Gordon, who has played only 51 games in the past two seasons combined because of lingering knee problems.
The Pelicans also now have a void to fill at center. If New Orleans does not acquire another starting center through a trade or free agency, it could potentially move reserve 7-foot power forward Jason Smith into that spot, which he has played periodically during the past few seasons. Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson, who are both 6-10 and generally play power forward, also could fill in at center in stints if needed.
Last season, Portland played J.J. Hickson, a true power forward, at center alongside two-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum.
The addition of Lopez will give the Blazers help at the position while developing 7-1 Meyers Leonard, the 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft out of Illinois.
It is the second major move the Blazers have made since the NBA draft. On Sunday, Portland added frontcourt depth by acquiring 6-10 forward Thomas Robinson from the Houston Rockets in exchange for a pair of future draft picks and the draft rights to Kostas Papanikolau and Marko Todorovic.
Robinson was the fifth overall pick in last year’s draft by the Sacramento Kings. He was dealt to the Rockets in a three-team trade in February.
He played in 70 total games last season, averaging 4.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 15.1 minutes.
The Blazers lost their last 13 games to finish 33-49 last season and out of the playoffs for the second straight season. The Hornets were 27-55, missing the playoffs for a second straight season. Sacramento also missed the playoffs last season, going 28-54.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Antonio Gonzalez contributed from San Francisco.JEFFERSON, BOBCATS REACH 3-YEAR DEAL
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Bobcats agreed on Thursday to a three-year, $40.5 million contract with free agent center Al Jefferson from the Utah Jazz, said people familiar with the situation.
Jefferson will make $13.5 million in each year of the deal, with the third season being a player option.
The people spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t become official. The contract cannot be signed until July 10 when the NBA’s moratorium on signing new deals is lifted.
Jefferson, 28, gives the Bobcats a much-needed scoring threat in the low post, where they struggled last season. He should also help on the boards, where the Bobcats were repeatedly outrebounded the last two seasons.
The 6-foot-10, 289-pound Jefferson has averaged 18.8 points and 10 rebounds per game over the last seven seasons. Last season, his third with the Jazz, he averaged 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
—THE ASSOCIATED PRESS