Minnesota Timberwolves Rumors: Could a Former Rookie of the Year Be a Free Agent Target?

By Brad Berreman
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

New president of basketball operations Flip Saunders has started his reshaping of the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ organization, firing scouts earlier this week and releasing guard Brandon Roy on Friday. With the NBA Draft about six weeks away and free agency coming soon after that, further additions and subtractions to the roster are sure to be coming.

Minnesota’s most pressing offseason need is perimeter shooting and scoring, and bringing in a shooting guard that can hold his own on both ends of the floor stands to be a top priority for Saunders and the rest of the front office. There should be plenty of free agent options that fit that profile, but could a former Rookie of the Year be the best fit?

Tyreke Evans had his 2012-2013 season with the Sacramento Kings ended early by a left knee and quad issue, and he set career-lows in points per game (15.2), rebounds per game (4.4) and assists per game (3.5) over 65 games (61 starts) even when healthy. Since his 2009-2010 Rookie of the Year campaign, when he averaged 20.1 points, 5.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in 72 games played, Evans’ production has steadily declined as injuries have limited him.

Evans will be a restricted free agent this summer, so the Kings can match any offer sheet he signs with another team. It’s unclear if Sacramento would match any and all offers Evans gets, but they should be willing to make a fairly significant financial commitment to arguably their most talented player.

Evans is not a great perimeter shooter, with a career three-point shooting percentage of less than 28 percent, but at 6’6″ and 220 lbs. he is otherwise an ideal shooting guard that can also defend the position. Durability concerns may drive his market value down relative to where his talent level would have it, so Minnesota should be able to make a viable offer that also fits for them financially. The possibility of Evans joining Ricky Rubio in the backcourt would surely be an exciting one for Timberwolves’ fans.

Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.

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