Tyreke Evans already has a 4-year, $44 million offer from the New Orleans Pelicans on the table. Although that seems like pretty much the best deal the 23-year-old could ask for, he won't stop his free agent search there.
The 6'5 guard will meet with the Atlanta Hawks after meetings with the Kings, the only team he's ever played for, and the Detroit Pistons, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. Since Evans is only a restricted free agent at this point in his career, the Kings will be able to match any offer on the table. But $11 million per season is a lot, especially for a team that just drafted a 6'5 guard in Ben McLemore nobody could believe fell to them at No. 7. Adding some fuel to the fire, according to Jones,the Pelicans offer is built so that Sacramento won't match it.
The 2009-2010 Rookie of the Year still hasn't had a season like his first in the league, recording career-lows in minutes as well as average points, rebounds and assists this past season. He's still an eminently-talented scorer with the capability to create for other, though, and has a rare skillset for a player of his size.
Although the money looks fine in New Orleans, Evans might not be the best pairing with new point guard Jrue Holiday. The Hawks, likely without Josh Smith, can offer Evans a refined big man partner in Al Horford whereas the Pistons will offer him the opportunity to be built around. If either come close in money, he could pass on New Orleans' seemingly unbeatable offer (and, of course, Sacramento could match).
Al Jefferson looking at Bobcats
If one axes out Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, Al Jefferson is likely the most palatable free agent big man on the market. The Charlotte Bobcats look to have a pair of developing youngsters up front in Bismack Biyombo and rookie Cody Zeller, but Biyombo is still very raw Zeller is expected to be, too. Jefferson could provide some actual ready-to-play talent right away for Charlotte, now, and there's reportedly interest. The 28-year-old center will meet with Bobcats' brass on Wednesday.
Timberwolves chasing J.J. Redick, Chase Budinger
With Andrei Kirilenko opting out, the Minnesota Timberwolves have some money to spend. Since Kyle Korver's off the market, the best shooter in this free agency class is gone. Redick and Budinger both fit a similar role, though, plus provide more. The Timberwolves are interested in inking one of the two -- preferably Redick -- to a four-year contract, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Redick is the more dependable player, stroking the ball at a high rate while developing ball-handling and passing skills with Orlando before a disappointing half-season in Milwaukee. Budinger's three-point percentage dropped precipitously from 40.5 percent in his final year in Houston to a career-low 32.1 percent last year, his first in Minnesota, but he's still hypothetically a nice offensive bench option.
Mavs one of many courting Matt Barnes
Matt Barnes rose to prominence in part due to a playoff series where the Golden State Warriors upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks, and ever since, he's made his keep as a scrappy, irritating, defense-heavy small forward. The Mavericks want him, but they aren't the only ones as Barnes' agent says 12 teams have expressed interest, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas. It's no surprise, either, as Barnes' skillset is pretty useful anywhere. He's only had a salary over $2 million for one year in his 10-year career, too, so he's likely going to be affordable.
Pacers, Copeland a two-way street
Chris Copeland made 11 of his 20 shots in the New York Knicks' playoff series to the Indiana Pacers, completing a transition from no-name 28-year-old rookie to a legitimate floor-spacing specialist. The Knicks didn't choose to play him as much as they probably should have, though, often opting to go with a not-quite-healthy and certainly-not-effective Amar'e Stoudemire at power forward. Then, despite being strapped for salary cap space, the team still went ahead and traded for Andrea Bargnani who will be expected to do the same thing Copeland did in the playoffs -- despite nearly a decade of evidence he won't be as effective.
Meanwhile, they've opted not to contact Copeland, and wouldn't have enough money to pay for him if they did. The Pacers will pick up the Knicks' slack, though, after watching Copeland torch them. There's reportedly mutual interest between Copeland and Indiana, too. The latter didn't really have a shooter on their roster last year, though Copeland would be one of the worst defensive players on a defense-first team.
Lakers looking at Byron Mullens
It was a tad surprising that the Charlotte Bobcats opted to let Mullens walk without so much as a qualifying offer after easily the best year of his four-year career. It's no surprise to see interest from around the league, though. ESPN's Dave McMenamin reports LA is in on to him and, no, this is not a sign the Lakers are moving on from Dwight Howard.)
They're joined by the Bucks and Trail Blazers, too, according to TNT's David Aldridge. It would be pretty cool to see Pachulia -- who has spent eight of his 10 NBA seasons providing rebounding and a hint of energy for the frequently also-ran Hawks -- on a contender like the Spurs, a tam that has an opening for a big man with Tiago Splitter likely headed elsewhere.
Pachulia's become a little bit of a fan favorite down in Atlanta, though, so teams might have to outpay the Hawks or promise contention to get him to leave. The big man suffered an Achilles injury last year, but he should be good to go for next season.