When Pete D’Alessandro vowed that he would take an aggressive approach in reshaping the Sacramento Kings’ roster, he wasn’t kidding. For the third time this year, D’Alessandro and his staff have made another midseason deal, this time acquiring veterans Jason Terry and Reggie Evans from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Marcus Thornton.
Combined, Terry and Evans bring 25 years of NBA experience to Sacramento. With both men in the twilight of their careers, what can the Kings expect from the 36-year-old guard and 33-year-old forward? We decided to catch up with someone who’s watched and covered Terry and Evans closely during their time in Brooklyn. Devin Kharpertian, who writes about the Nets for The Brooklyn Game, joined us for a brief question-and-answer session on the trade deadline transaction.
CK: Let’s of course start with Jason Terry. After being acquired in the offseason from the Celtics, he only played in 35 games with Brooklyn and averaged career-low numbers in scoring and minutes. I imagine that he had a diminished role on the Nets due to a number of reasons, including his age as well as Shaun Livingston’s performance.
DK: That’s true, but he could’ve also played his way into the rotation like Livingston did. He didn’t. His 38 percent three-point shooting — which is the only thing he brings these days — is fool’s gold; he actually shot far worse the closer the game was. Here’s what the numbers were on February 7th, it’s actually kind of ridiculous. Every time the game was out of hand, Terry would spot up for an open three or two to bolster his numbers.
CK: He had offseason knee surgery and missed most of the preseason for the Nets. Do you think that procedure had anything to do with slowing him down in this his 14th NBA season?
DK: I’m sure it did. He called it just getting “cleaned up” and nothing out of the ordinary for a 36-year-old athlete. But I suppose any knee surgery for a 36-year-old athlete isn’t good, no matter how “ordinary.”
CK: Terry is in the second-to-last year of his contract and as you mentioned, he is 36 . When he was in Brooklyn, did he talk at all about how much longer he would like to continue his career?
DK: I could be wrong, but not that I recall, sorry.
CK: Over the last few years, the Kings have lacked credible veteran experience on their roster. Terry is a guy that’s done practically everything in this league, including win a championship. Because he’s already been to the top of the NBA mountain, do you think it will be easier for him to accept coming to a losing team and becoming a mentor to the young guys they have here in Sacramento?
DK: Terry’s an amicable guy. I have no doubt that he’ll fit in in Sacramento and provide a good veteran voice for his young teammates. I know he was excited about the potential of winning a championship in Brooklyn, but that dream faded fast and Terry didn’t lose his charm. That said, if he’s really at the end of the line, he might just be annoyed at having to move again for a few fading months on a rebuilding team.
CK: Let’s move onto Reggie Evans, another veteran player. He was a major cog in their run to the playoffs last year, averaging a career-best 16.3 rebounds per 36 minutes. Why has he slipped out of Jason Kidd’s rotation this season?
DK: His offense had become unwatchable this year, and when Lopez went down and the team’s offense changed, Evans didn’t really fit in. He’s a fan favorite, and perhaps no player had such a wide variance between in-arena support and online vitriol spewed at him. The fans in Barclays genuinely loved Evans, for all his follies — he’d hit two free throws and get a standing ovation. But his offense was just anemic this year, and he became unplayable with the team’s solid frontcourt rotation.
CK: Lastly, like Terry, how do you think Evans will take going from an Eastern Conference playoff contender to a Western Conference cellar dweller? Does he have the kind of personality that can embrace being a mentor in a young locker room?
DK: I think he’ll be fine. Evans is a gregarious, fun player who doesn’t have much trouble fitting in with teammates. He was the team’s voracious pre-game hugger, pushed Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche in practice, and kept the locker room light. I don’t know if he’s necessarily a mentor, but he’s definitely a good teammate.