Trade Analysis: Why Jason Terry/Reggie Evans for Marcus Thornton makes sense for the Sacramento Kings

Jason Terry chats with official Joey Crawford during the Nets' lone visit to Sacramento in 2013. (Photo: Tobin Halsey)

For the third time this season, Pete D’Alessandro has made a substantial trade for the Sacramento Kings, this time sending Marcus Thornton to the Brooklyn Nets for veterans Jason Terry and Reggie Evans.  No official announcement has been made yet, but an NBA source has confirmed to Cowbell Kingdom that the deal has been agreed to in principle and is pending league approval.

On its face, the Kings are dealing youth for two players past their prime.  But they are also clearing the deck of both salary and a player standing in the way of rookie Ben McLemore’s development.

Who are Jason Terry and Reggie Evans?

At 36-years-old, Terry’s days of being a super-sub are all but over, but that doesn’t mean he is useless to the Kings.  He will be asked to mentor both Isaiah Thomas (assuming he makes it through the trade deadline) and McLemore, while providing veteran leadership off the bench.

Terry averaged just 4.5 points in 16 minutes per game with Brooklyn and perhaps more alarming was his 36 percent shooting from the field.  Maybe he isn’t as explosive as he was before, but Terry can still knock down the perimeter jumper.  This season, he’s matching his career average of 37.9 percent from behind the 3-point line, which is a huge improvement over the 31.8 percent Thornton was giving the Kings.

Terry isn’t a defender, but he is a high-IQ veteran that has a big-brother-like friendship with Thomas.  He is under contract for one more season at $5.9 million.

DeMarcus Cousins will certainly be happy that he no longer has to face Reggie Evans anymore.  The 33-year-old power forward is known for his mean streak and rebounding prowess.  Sacramento’s Quincy Acy has often been compared to Evans, but the comparison stops at the beard and the rebounding numbers.

Evans has struggled to see action this season under new head coach Jason Kidd, but he was a beast last year for the Nets.  The University of Iowa product led the league in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, averaging 16.3 rebounds per 36 minutes played.

Evans will never be considered an offensive weapon and his career 52.1-percent shooting from the line is alarming, but he understands his job and does it well.  Evans has one year remaining on his deal at roughly $1.8 million.

How do Terry and Evans fit with the Sacramento Kings?

McLemore will move back into the starting line-up, with Terry becoming the Kings primary bench scorer.  I’m not sure what this means for Jimmer Fredette, but that might sort itself out over the next 24 hours before the trade deadline.  A bench backcourt of Terry and rookie Ray McCallum makes sense on some level, but then again, so does McCallum with Jimmer.

Evans joins a deeply-packed frontline.  He was playing just 13 minutes per game and has seen plenty of DNP-CDs under Kidd, which may not change in Sacramento.  With the Kings sitting at just 18-35, the Kings are going to want to find minutes for Acy and and even Carl Landry to get him ready for next season.  As it stands, those guys are behind Jason Thompson in the rotation.

Why make the deal?

Because Thornton was due to make nearly $8.6 million next season and he was a horrible fit next to Thomas, Cousins and Rudy Gay, not to mention he stood in the way of McLemore.  While the Kings traded away a 26-year-old for two players past their primes, they brought in veterans that have worked to define their roles as NBA players over many years.

This wasn’t the perfect trade for Sacramento, but D’Alessandro broke an albatross contract in two and saved close to $2 million over this season and next in the process.

Brooklyn took an expensive gamble hoping that Thornton can regain the spark that earned him his huge contract.  I wouldn’t bet against Thornton bouncing back and having a solid 30-game run for the playoff-bound Nets.

What does all of this mean?

It means that Pete D’Alessandro has accomplished the impossible.  In the span of four months during the NBA season, he has moved Thornton, Patrick Patterson, Chuck Hayes, John Salmons, Greivis Vasquez and Luc Mbah a Moute.  Only Cousins, Thomas, Thompson, Travis Outlaw and Jimmer remain from last season’s roster.  He has completely reshaped the Kings and he isn’t done dealing yet.  When the new coaches, management and owners said that this season wasn’t about wins and losses, they weren’t joking.

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