Report: Tyreke Evans Agrees to Contract With Indiana Pacers

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Tyreke Evans
April 23, 2015: New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans (1) during game 3 of the first round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Indiana Pacers took a dip into the NBA free agent pool on Tuesday, inking swingman Tyreke Evans to a one-year, $12 million contract. The news was first reported by Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Tyreke Evans Agrees to Contract With Indiana Pacers

Evans is coming off a very strong bounce back individual campaign, posting averages of 19.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.2 assists for the Memphis Grizzlies. More importantly, Evans managed to — for the most part — stay healthy in 2017-18. Although he only played in 52 of the Grizzlies 82 games, 12 of the 30 games missed stemmed from Evans attending to a “personal matter” late in the season. That also happened to coincide with the Grizzlies being well out of the playoff race and very much in the thick of the tanking race for best draft lottery odds, which may also have factored into his absence. Evans also missed five games as a result of the Grizzlies’ decision to hold him out of the lineup strictly as a precaution leading up to the trade deadline, as they attempted but ultimately failed to deal Evans to a contender.

Evans’ one significant injury-related absence was a 10-game stint after he suffered a rib injury in late February. But the moral of the story is that Evans went from coming off the bench under a minutes restriction at the start of the season, to the primary ball-handler on the team’s starting unit with no such restriction. Save for the fluke rib injury suffered on a collision underneath the basket, his bill of health was just about as clean as can be in 2017-18.

That’s important, because ever since Evans took home NBA Rookie of the Year honors in 2010, a seemingly never-ending string of injuries had hampered his ability to match that level of production. Evans signed a one-year, $3.3 million “prove it” contract with the Grizz last summer, and prove it he did. The Philadelphia area native looked like the Evans of old in 2017-18, and while concerns about his injury history won’t completely go away, he earned his payday this off-season.

Evans will now join a Pacers team looking to build on the noise it made during the 2018 playoffs. Evans will provide Indiana with another strong ball-handler who works effectively in pick-and-rolls. He’ll also try to relieve some pressure off of Pacers star Victor Oladipo, who will continue to take on primary ball-handling duties.

 

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